How will the coronavirus affect the Olympics?

National

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXAN) — As the world faces a pandemic of COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus, athletes and organizers are still preparing for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Nexstar’s Olympic coverage team was supposed to check out and interview athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday. However, on Wednesday night the Center closed to all visitors, “out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to limit any potential exposure to the coronavirus.”

  • The above video was the kickoff to a series of weekly live streams leading up to the Olympics, featuring the latest headlines and athlete features, plus interviews and analysis. Watch the next ones Tuesdays at 9 a.m. CT.

The International Olympic Committee re-asserted its commitment to the summer games in a press release that coincided with the lighting of the Olympic flame in Greece. That ceremony was held with limited spectators due to coronavirus concerns.

“With 19 weeks before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the many measures being taken now by authorities all around the world give us confidence and keep us fully committed to delivering Olympic Games that can bring the world together in peace,” the IOC wrote.

Still, athletes have had to contend with canceled or postponed trials and athletic events. Italy suspended all sporting events through April 3. Japan’s pre-season baseball games have been held to empty stadiums. The IOC said it is working with International Federations and National Olympic Committees as they figure out the qualification systems.

Athletes and coaches react to coronavirus

Rowers training in Austin recently said their eyes are still on the Olympic Trials next week in Florida.

Their coach, Matt Madigan, said they’re working to not make coronavirus a focus during training.

“We pay attention to what the external factors are that we have to deal with, but we really gotta keep it internal and focus on what they need to do,” Madigan said. “We control the controllables and if we do that we’ll be successful.”

Getting ready for pole vaulting trials

One of the athletes preparing for this year’s Olympics is pole vaulter Sandi Morris, who won a silver medal a year ago. The Arkansas athlete is currently touring the world for her indoor season and preparing for the Olympic Trials in June in an effort to represent the United States once again.

“Now I am a veteran, there’s a little pressure,” Morris said. “I have more eyeballs on me.”

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