INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The International Olympic Committee told athletes Sunday it’s considering postponing the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The games are scheduled to start July 24.
While the IOC ruled out canceling the games altogether, this has left Olympic hopefuls in limbo.
Indiana University women’s swimming and diving coach Ray Looze hopes to lead Hoosiers to Tokyo. Looze coached Team USA in 2016 when IU had seven swimmers qualify to compete in Rio de Janeiro. Lilly King won two gold medals as a sophomore.
As Looze eyes another opportunity to lead Team USA, he believes the 2020 Olympics should start at a later date, citing health and safety concerns worldwide.
“I definitely would support postponement of the Olympic games,” Looze said. “I know that’s really difficult.”
King tells FOX59’s JoJo Gentry she also believes the games should start later. Like other Olympic hopefuls worldwide, King says she does not have access to venues and resources necessary for training. Returning to her hometown of Evansville, she is finding other ways to stay in shape without access to a pool.
“I’ve been running around the neighborhood,” King laughed. “No pools in Evansville. No pools in Bloomington. Basically right now, I think a lot of people are kind of training at private pools that people may have at their houses or swimming in lakes. It’s really gotten extreme.”
USA Track and Field announced Saturday its advocacy to postpone the Olympics, a decision that could determine fates for Olympic hopefuls like Sarah Pease. The former Hoosiers’ track star, has been training for her third Olympic trials. She was hoping to make this year her final run in the steeplechase.
“I kind of planned on this being my last season of competition, so that kind of changes things in terms of what do I do,” Pease said. “I’m trying to go on as normal. Once there’s a decision on the Olympic trials, I’ll be able to assess where I go.”
As training for Olympians has altered or come to a halt, drug tests on athletes are also stopped. King noted this creates a window of opportunity for those who use performance-enhancing drugs.
“I think some of the less trustworthy countries are going to definitely be taking part in some doping during this time,” King said. “You know people are going to take advantage of these few months where we are off or in limbo, so I think this time is really going to show people’s true colors.”