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Report: Japan, IOC may cancel Olympics

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It would be disappointing, but understandable

OLY-2020-2021-TOKYO-HEALTH-VIRUS Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

If reports out of Japan and Europe are to be believed, one of the biggest sporting events on earth may not take place. According to The Times, the Japanese government has privately called for this summer’s Olympics to be canceled because of the coronavirus.

The report cites a senior member of Tokyo 2020’s ruling coalition, states that the committee is just searching for a way to announce that the Olympics will be canceled and not rescheduled. Tokyo would then push to bid for hosting duties for the 2032 Summer Games. “No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” The Times quotes the unnamed source as saying. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Of course, that would mean that the United States Women’s National Team would not have an opportunity to get a gold medal at the Olympic Games, seeking to become the first team to win a World Cup and then the Olympic gold medal after that. For the men’s U-23s, it would mean their quest to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 2008 would end before it had a chance to begin. Concacaf recently announced its rescheduled Olympic qualifying tournament would take place in March, but if the Olympics was canceled before the tournament began, that would ultimately cancel all the games.

It’s obviously a developing story, but one that every fan of the national teams should pay attention to over the coming days and weeks. Of course, it would be incredibly disheartening for COVID-19 to force the cancellation of the Olympics outright, but it’s clearly understandable given the logistics of attempting to play the games and keep all the athletes, national Olympics delegations, and any attending fans safe.

Hit the comments and discuss whether you think the Olympics should be canceled, and if it goes off, what needs to happen to make them safe.

UPDATE: According to Reuters’ Jack Tarrant, the Japanese government “clearly denies” the rumors about the Olympics being canceled. However, there is an International Olympic Committee meeting next Wednesday, so maybe we know more then.