IOC, committed to Tokyo Olympics, prepares for changes to qualifying process

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The IOC remains fully committed to the Tokyo Olympics, which open July 24, after continuing talks Tuesday with Games stakeholders amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“With more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive,” according to an IOC press release.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo added, “I want to hold the Olympics and Paralympics perfectly, as proof that the human race will conquer the new coronavirus, and I gained support for that from the G-7 leaders.”

IOC officials consulted with Summer Olympic sports bodies and plan talks with National Olympic Committees, athlete representatives, the International Paralympic Committee, other International Federations and others.

The IOC will work with the International Federations to make changes to Olympic qualifying, which has been impacted by global sporting events being postponed and canceled into April and May.

Any sport qualifying process revisions will be published by the beginning of April.

An increase in the number of overall athletes allowed for a sport will be considered on a case-by-case basis under exceptional circumstances.

So far, 57 percent of athletes are qualified for the Olympics, according to the IOC.

The U.S. Olympic team, which is expected to be more than 500 athletes, named its first 75 members over the last year.

On top of that, the U.S. has earned many more quota spots that will be filled by team sports naming rosters or trials events determining individual qualifiers.

U.S. Olympic Trials events in rowing, shooting and wrestling, scheduled for March and April, have been postponed indefinitely. Trials events in diving, gymnastics, swimming and track and field remain scheduled for June.

“The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern,” IOC President Thomas Bach said, according to the release. “All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams. We are an Olympic community; we support one another in good times and in difficult times. This Olympic solidarity defines us as a community.”

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