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USATF Letter to United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Requesting Postponement of 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

March 20, 2020


VIA EMAIL
Ms. Sarah Hirshland
United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
One Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909


Dear Sarah:


I am writing to share USA Track & Field’s (USATF) position regarding the
uncertainty surrounding the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
USATF’s top priority has been, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our
athletes, coaches, staff and volunteer leaders. As this global pandemic has grown,
we have worked hard to remain in close contact with our board of directors,
constituent leadership, key stakeholders and sponsors to address their concerns and
maintain steady communication in this rapidly changing environment.


As you know, the Olympic Games are only a few months away. This is a critical
time for our athletes to train and compete, as they seek to put themselves in the best
possible position to represent our country, Team USA and Team USATF. Our goal
remains to achieve athletic excellence during the Olympic Games, but not at the
expense of the safety and well-being of our athletes.


Unfortunately, while our world class athletes are willing to push themselves to their
athletic limits in pursuit of Olympic success, the likelihood that they will be able to
properly train in a safe and adequate environment, and replicate the excellence we
have all come to expect, does not appear likely in the midst of this global crisis. As
we have learned, our athletes are under tremendous pressure, stress and anxiety,
and their mental health and wellness is among our highest priorities.
The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety,
and appropriately recognize the toll this difficult situation has, and continues to
take, on our athletes and their Olympic Games preparations. We are all
experiencing unfathomable disruptions, and everyone’s lives are being impacted
accordingly.