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Postponed Games could open door for drug cheats: USADA

Posted in Sports

Published on March 30, 2020 with No Comments

‘No impact on Paris 2024 Olympics’

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic will have “no impact” on the Paris Games, which will go ahead as scheduled in “summer 2024”, the head of the organising committee Tony Estanguet is reported to have said.  The 2020 Games were delayed until “no later than summer 2021” by the IOC and Japanese Prime Minister Sinzo Abe but Estanguet said the first postponement of an Olympics during peacetime would not affect the Paris edition.

Statement from Minister of Canadian Heritage


On behalf of all Canadians, I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the government of Japan, Tokyo 2020 organizers, International Olympic Committee (IOC), and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in organizing the Tokyo 2020 Games. The International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee decided to postpone the games, amid growing health concerns due to COVID-19. It is a difficult decision, but the right one. The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and support staff remain our priority. Canada stands in solidarity with the international sport community and the people of Japan in particular. The Government of Canada looks forward to the games taking place in Japan in the future. Tokyo is a world-class city and exemplary host with a proven track record of hosting major international sporting events. With the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 games, and with so much uncertainly around the world, we know that this is a particularly difficult period for athletes and sports organizations, among many others. The Department of Canadian Heritage, through Sport Canada, would like to reaffirm our government’s support for all the people affected, directly or indirectly, by COVID-19 virus. We remain fully supportive of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) as they continue to work closely with national and international sport communities and public health officials to protect the health of Canadian athletes, their families and their communities. The Government of Canada would like to thank the COC and CPC for their hard work and leadership in the sport movement. We will continue to work with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees and all sport organizations to support Canadian athletes during this difficult time.


The one-year postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could open the door for convicted drug cheats to compete for medals, an issue that will need to addressed, United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief Travis Tygart said. “This was an issue raised on a call of national anti-doping agencies from 21 countries today,” Tygart said. “It is one of many complex issues that will have to be thought through and determined now that the Games have been postponed.”

Currently, there is no exception to extending an anti-doping sanction for postponed events if the athlete or coach has served their ban when the competition takes place.

The doping question is sure to be one of many for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Tokyo organisers and WADA to address after IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that the Games needed to be delayed a year due to the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak. If an athlete has served his or her ban and is denied a chance to qualify for an Olympic spot it is almost certain such a ruling could be challenged in court. While anti-doping rules cannot be changed retroactively, the updated WADA Code comes on line in January 2021 which could be applied and impact suspensions.


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