The Australian Olympic Committee is advising its athletes to prepare for an Olympics in 2021.
Ian Chesterman, Australia's team leader for Tokyo, on Monday said "It's clear the games can't be held in July" because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them," Chesterman said in a statement. "They have also shouldered the burden of concern for their peers around the world. That has been a consistent message to me."
AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said Australia had athletes based overseas and training in central locations around the country and "with travel and other restrictions this becomes an untenable situation,."
The Australian committee's executive board agreed unanimously in an emergency teleconference Monday that "an Australian team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad" and decided to notify athletes as soon as possible.
The Canadian Olympic Committee had earlier said it won't send athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they're postponed for a year.
The International Olympic Committee on Sunday confirmed for the first time it was considering a postponement, a decision which could take weeks to reach. The Tokyo Games are scheduled to start July 24.
Until late last week the Australian committee was supporting the IOC's plans to go ahead as scheduled with the games, but there's been considerable backlash since then from athletes and some sports and more severe travel restrictions imposed by Australian federal and state governments.
"Moving the world's biggest sporting event, which involves so many sports, athletes, the world's media, sponsors and the rest ... is not easy to do," Carroll said. "Last Thursday was a different set of circumstances to standing here today. There has been dramatic change in our own country and across the world.
The Tokyo Olympics are going to happen — but almost surely in 2021 rather than in four months as planned.
This became clear after the IOC on Sunday announced it was considering a postponement. Major Olympic nations like Canada and Australia have added pressure by saying they will not go if the games are staged this year.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach sent a letter to athletes explaining the decision and why it might take so long, while also acknowledging the extended timeline might not be popular.
"I know that this unprecedented situation leaves many of your questions open," he wrote. "I also know that this rational approach may not be in line with the emotions many of you have to go through."
The IOC's move seemed inevitable for a week with pressure mounting from all quarters — athletes, sponsors, broadcasters and more than 200 national Olympic committees, and international sports federations.
Shortly after Bach's statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee said it won't send teams to the Olympics unless the games are postponed by a year. Australia issued a statement saying it was advising its athletes to prepare for an Olympics in 2021.
The Australian committee's executive board agreed unanimously that "an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad."
World Athletics President Seb Coe sent a letter to Bach saying that holding the Olympics in July "is neither feasible nor desirable." He outlined a number of reasons, including competitive fairness, the likelihood athletes would overtrain if given a compressed schedule and the uncertainty caused by orders in many countries barring people from gyms and other workout venues.
National Olympic committees in Brazil and Slovenia had also called for postponement until 2021. Norway's Olympic body said it did not want athletes going to Tokyo until the global health crisis is under control.
The United States governing bodies of swimming and track — two of the three top-tier Summer Games sports — had called on their national Olympic officials to push for a postponement.
Japan's politicians fell in line quickly on Monday as they awakened to Bach's move.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking at a parliamentary session, said a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics would be unavoidable if the games cannot be held in a complete way because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"If it is difficult to hold (the Games) in a complete way, a decision of postponement would be unavoidable," he said.
Abe said he hoped the IOC would make a decision early if it is postponed, because the process would involve a lot of work and should start as soon as possible.
Tokyo Governor Yurko Koike echoed Abe.
"The IOC will fully examine what to do over the next four weeks, and in that process that word (postponement) may be included," she said.
The IOC holds most of the cards in any rescheduling, spelled out in a Host City Contract signed in 2013 between the IOC, the Japanese Olympic Committee and the city of Tokyo.
Japan is officially spending $12.6 billion to organize the Olympics, but a national audit put the figure at more than twice that much. The bill is sure to increase with any postponement, and the vast majority of the spending if from the public treasury.
The IOC has a reserve fund of about $2 billion to tide itself over, and also has insurance against postponement or cancellation.
"The public is expecting and supports postponement, so it won't be a big deal," Jeff Kingston, who studies Japanese politics at Temple University in Tokyo, said in an email to Associated Press. "People are way more worried about the economic consequences and their jobs and if the number of cases ramps."
Former IOC marketing director Michael Payne said the delay might work to the advantage of the IOC and Japan.
"What better platform is there going to be than the Olympic Games when the world has pulled through the virus," Payne told AP in an interview Sunday, just before the IOC announcement. "You've got a dynamic that will be even more powerful for Japan and the rest of the world. But you are going to have a tough road getting there."
The Olympic torch arrived Friday in northern Japan. The torch relay it set to begin on Thursday from that area but is in doubt. On Sunday, thousands crowed one northern city to view the flame. Organizers have asked spectators to show restraint, threatening to delay the relay or change plans.
As of Sunday, Japan had 1,719 confirmed cases of the virus, including 712 from a cruise ship, with 43 deaths.
While Japan has so far managed to slow the acceleration of the outbreak, experts say they have found a growing number of clusters in urban areas with untraceable infections.
The Canadian Olympic Committee says it won't send athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they're postponed for a year, becoming the first country to threaten such a move in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The committee sent out a statement Sunday evening saying it was willing to help the IOC search for alternatives, but that it was not safe for athletes, "their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training for these Games."
"In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow."
Canada brought 314 athletes who combined to win 22 medals at the Rio Games in 2016.
Some of its most notable performers included swimmer Penny Oleksiak and sprinter Andre De Grasse.
Canada joins a number of countries — including Norway, Brazil and Slovenia — that have pressed the IOC on a possible postponement. But none had flat-out said they wouldn't go if the games start when they're scheduled on July 24.
The IOC on Sunday said it would take up to four weeks to consider alternatives, which include postponement. It has taken the possibility of canceling the games off the table.
Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) office at Maulana Bhashani National Stadium here, remained closed from Sunday (March 22) to March 31 due to outbreak of deadlys Corona virus in the country and all over the world.
As per direction of BHF President Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, all kinds of hockey activities like hockey match, hockey practices will also be suspended at the hockey stadium during the period, addition to closure of its office at Bangabandhu National Stadium premises.
Hockey Federation also advised their officials and staffs to complete their necessary official job (except emergency) from home through online aiming to prevent the transmission of coronavirus and asked them to take care about the safety of them and their family members.
Meanwhile, International Hockey Federation also advised its member countries to follow the instruction of World Health Organization (WHO) as well as advised the world to take aggressive steps to stop the spread of the virus.
Earlier on Saturday, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced that it will follow the ‘work from home’ policy from Sunday (March 22), aiming to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.
The staff, who are not essential to stay at the office have been advised to work from home.
The BCB also announced that all sort of cricket will be stopped in the country until the next notice. With this step, the Bangabandhu Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League has been stopped indefinitely.
Before that, BCB had to stop the two-match T20I series between Asia XI and World XI which was scheduled to take place on March 21 and 22 to celebrate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation.
Not just in Bangladesh, but many sports events and sporting authorities have taken these steps around the globe as well.
The World Health Organization (WHO) already announced it as an epidemic and advised the world to take aggressive steps to stop the spread of the virus.
With more and more calls to postpone the Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus outbreak, it's worth noting that this every-four-years spectacle has been rocked before by traumatic events.
Three other times, the games were canceled altogether because of World War I (1916) and World War II (1940 and 1944) — and in those latter two quadrennials, both the Summer and Winter Games were shelved.
A look at the Olympic Games that never were:
Berlin was set to host the 1916 Summer Olympics (the Winter Games weren't founded until 1924), beating bids from Alexandria, Amsterdam, Brussels, Budapest and Cleveland, according to GamesBids.com.
The German Empire even constructed a dazzling new facility to serve as the centerpiece of the games. Known as Deutsches Stadion, it opened well ahead of the games in 1913.
After the First World War erupted in July 1914, preparations carried on for a while since no one expected the hostilities to last another two years. But the horrific war lasted until 1918, eventually forcing the Olympics to be canceled.
The Berlin stadium was demolished some two decades later and replaced by a new structure that would serve as the main stadium for the 1936 Summer Games, when the German capital finally got another chance to host. Of course, Adolf Hitler had risen to power by then, leaving those games to be remembered ominously for promoting the Nazi regime that would eventually lead the world into an even more catastrophic war.
In an era when the selected nation got the option of hosting both the Summer and Winter Games in the same year, Japan was a surprising choice as the first non-Western country to be awarded the Olympics. Tokyo was to be the summer host, with Sapporo getting the winter version.
Again, war got in the way.
Japan invaded China in 1937, prompting the Asian country to surrender its hosting duties the next year after some military leaders reportedly demanded that venues be constructed from wood because metals were needed for the war effort.
The International Olympic Committee hastily named Helsinki, runner-up in the initial bidding, to serve as summer city, with the winter events going to 1928 host St. Moritz, Switzerland. A dispute with Swiss organizers led to one more change, as the Winter Games were shifted a second time to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the German host in 1936 alongside Berlin.
Of course, after World War II erupted in September 1939 with Germany's invasion of Poland, the Olympics were canceled altogether. Tokyo would eventually get a chance to host the Summer Games in 1964 — still the first Asian city to receive the honor — while Sapporo landed the 1972 Winter Games.
Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, and after all that scrambling to find replacement hosts for 1940, the IOC awarded London the 1944 Summer Games in balloting that also included Athens, Budapest, Detroit, Helsinki, Lausanne, Montreal and Rome.
With England not a feasible host for the Winter Games, that event was awarded to Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
The 1944 Olympics never had a chance. World War II dragged on until the following year.
London would then be awarded the 1948 Summer Games, the first in a dozen years and staged in austere conditions as the city continued to recover from the war. In 2012, the British capital became the first three-time host.
St. Moritz hosted the Winter Games for a second time in 1948, while Cortina eventually got another shot with the 1956 Winter Olympics.