The American Swimming Coaches Association fully supports the position put forward in the attached letter from Tim Hinchey (USA Swimming CEO) to Sarah Hirschland (USOPC CEO) in outlining the concerns with pushing forward with the Olympic Games in 2020. While the IOC and Tokyo 2020 are focused on the actual dates of the Olympic Games themselves, the National Olympic Committees and National Governing Bodies are faced with having insufficient time to allow their athletes to train and/or compete for spots on each country’s Olympic Team. To push forward with the Olympic Games in 2020 will cause incredible challenges for our athletes and coaches to properly prepare and will reflect in poor performances at the Olympic Games. We as the swimming community need to support a proper pathway for our great swimmers to be their best when competing. Please understand that there is no easy solutions to this situation but we should ALWAYS have the best interests of our athletes in mind when making critical decisions on this matter.
Steve Roush, ASCA CEO
The Letter Reads:
Friday, March 20, 2020
Attn: Sarah Hirshland, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Chief Executive Officer
United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
One Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
As a leader to our 400,000 members and many of the world’s top Olympic champions, I feel compelled to speak out about the pending Olympic Games in Tokyo in July 2020.
Our top priority at USA Swimming has been, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers and other members.
As this global pandemic has grown, we have watched our athletes’ worlds be turned upside down and watched them struggle to find ways to continue to prepare and train – many for the biggest competitive opportunity of their lives.
Our world class swimmers are always willing to race anyone, anytime and anywhere; however, pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer.
The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety and appropriately recognize the toll this global pandemic is taking on athletic preparations. It has transcended borders and wreaked havoc on entire populations, including those of our respected competitors. Everyone has experienced unimaginable disruptions, mere months before the Olympic Games, which calls into question the authenticity of a level playing field for all.
Our athletes are under tremendous pressure, stress and anxiety, and their mental health and wellness should be among the highest priorities.
It is with the burden of these serious concerns that we respectfully request that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee advocate for the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by one year.
There are no perfect answers, and this will not be easy; however, it is a solution that provides a concrete path forward and allows all athletes to prepare for a safe and successful Olympic Games in 2021.
We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes.
Tim Hinchey III
USA Swimming Chief Executive Officer