IOC Says COVID-19 A Major Concern for Beijing Olympics but Says Cancelation Unlikely

Veteran International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound said the coronavirus is a major concern for Beijing Olympics but remains confident the Games would go ahead as scheduled.

Pound has repeatedly dismissed the possibility of cancelation or postponement of the Games citing the rigorous Covid-19 protocols Beijing has put in place, including daily testing and a closed-loop system that would fully separate Olympic participants from the rest of Chinese society.

“I don’t think these things are postponable. In almost every respect, the arrow has left the bow. They’re going to start February 4, and it would take a real upset of some sort to change that… unless Armageddon happens, and public health authorities say we lock down every country. At that point, it changes the entire paradigm,” Pound said.

Pound’s comments came after Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Shoemaker said he was “worried” about the Beijing Winter Olympics going ahead amid an explosion of the Omicron variant.

“We’re confident that these Games can still be scheduled safely, but we’re taking it day by day and wake up every morning to make sure that is how we still feel about it,” Shoemaker said.

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