Russian speed-skating Olympic champion and State Duma deputy Svetlana Zhurova has said the sporting community will no longer need the Olympic governing body if the Tokyo Summer Games are eventually cancelled.
The 2006 Olympic winner commented on the coronavirus pandemic which has drastically impacted the global sports schedule, outlining that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should devise measures for hosting a safe event in Tokyo, otherwise it will show its inefficiency and uselessness.
“If the Tokyo Games are ultimately cancelled, we will not need the IOC as an organization. Hosting Games and collaborating with hosting cities are the only things they actually do. The main aim is to popularize the Olympic movement. What will they popularize if there are no Games?” Zhurova said.
The retired athlete compared the Covid-19 crisis to the September 11 terrorist attacks, hailing the USA for quickly implementing security measures to ensure a safe Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002.
“We all remember the September 11 tragedy, when the Twin Towers collapsed,” she said, “but there were 2002 Olympics after the terrorist attack and the US officials had less than six months to adopt new and unprecedented safety measures.
“We realize that there will be additional tests and checks due to the coronavirus pandemic to ensure athletes’ and fans’ safety. The IOC will have one year to work out safety measures.”
On Thursday, IOC president Thomas Bach said that the Tokyo Games could be cancelled if Covid-19 is still a threat next year.