Global athletes group calls for postponement of Olympics

Global athletes group calls for postponement of Olympics



A worldwide group representing Olympic hopefuls is calling on the IOC to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

“As the world unites to limit the spread of Covid-19 virus, the IOC ... must do the same,” Global Athlete said in a news release Sunday.

This show of solidarity among Olympic hopefuls adds to the dozens of individual athletes who have come out against the IOC’s current stance, which is to start the games as scheduled on July 24.

The IOC is in consultation with the World Health Organization and has stuck to the position that it’s too early for drastic decisions.

“It’s bizarre the IOC hasn’t shown any real leadership,” said Caradh O’Donovan, a Global Athlete founder from Ireland whose karate training has been put on hold due to restrictions in her country. “They’re acting as though it’s business as usual and it just seems very strange.”

O’Donovan said the unevenness around the globe regarding training, doping control and qualifying standards are among her key concerns — thoughts echoed by a number of athletes on social media and in interviews with The Associated Press over the past few days.

“Athletes want to be part of a solution to ensure the Games are a success,” the Global Athlete statement said. “But under the current global restrictions that are limiting public gatherings as well as closing training facilities and borders, athletes do not have the ability to appropriately prepare for these Games, and their health and safety must come first.”

The group also called on broadcasters, specifically NBC, and sponsors “to adopt the same level of duty of care toward athletes by supporting the IOC and (International Paralympic Committee) with flexibility and understanding during these uncharted times.”

The statement came out a few hours after U.S. athletes took part in a conference call to share their feelings about the crisis and the possibility of a postponed Olympics. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is distributing a survey to athletes, with hopes of sharing some of the responses at an IOC meeting next week.

On Saturday, one of America’s best-known Olympians, hurdler and bobsledder Lolo Jones, told the AP she was hoping the IOC would respond with a postponement.

“If our job as Olympians and Olympic hopefuls is to inspire society and be healthy, we’re going in direct conflict with that by going out in public to find gyms and tracks and pools that are still open to train for the Games,” Jones said. “Some people are doing that because the IOC is telling us to stay ready, to keep training.”

It’s a thought being echoed by the Global Athlete group.

“My dream is to go to the Olympics this year but it’s an impossible task from my perspective and it’s the same for a huge number of athletes,” O’Donovan said. “I’d be absolutely stunned if they go on in July, as planned.”

MLB cancels games in Mexico City and San Juan, PR

Major League Baseball games scheduled to be played in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico, are canceled in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB closed credentialing to media and will move those games to the United States.

The San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks were scheduled to play April 18-19 in Mexico City. The series will shift to Arizona, according to Major League Baseball.

The New York Mets and Miami Marlins were booked for a three-game series April 28-30 in San Juan. Miami will host the series instead.

MLB announced earlier this week that the 2020 season won’t begin until mid-May, at the earliest.

“The clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.


NBA shuttering facilities, as more teams face positive tests

The number of known coronavirus cases within the NBA doubled to 14 on Thursday, when Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics pleaded with people to take social distancing more seriously and the league ordered all teams to shutter their training facilities indefinitely.

Smart revealed that he tested positive and the Los Angeles Lakers said two of their players tested positive as well, bringing the number of players who have acquired the virus to 10. The Philadelphia 76ers said three members of their organization tested positive and the Denver Nuggets said someone within their franchise was positive as well.

The 76ers and Nuggets did not say if the affected people were players, coaches or other staff.

“I’ve had no symptoms and I feel great,” Smart said on Twitter. “But the younger generation in our country MUST self distance. This is not a joke. Not doing so is selfish. Together we can beat this, but we must beat it together by being apart for a short while.”

The league wants its teams to keep distance as well. Earlier Thursday, the NBA sent a memo to teams telling them to close their training and practice facilities to all players and staff — plus recommending that players “take aggressive measures to avoid contact with others and remain home as much as possible, leaving only for essential activities.”

Smart said he waited five days for his test results.

“I’ve been self-quarantined since the test, thank goodness,” Smart tweeted.“COVID-19 must be taken with the highest level of seriousness. I know it’s a #1 priority for our nations health experts, & we must get more testing ASAP.”

Smart’s comments and the other positive-test revelations came hours after the NBA’s memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, was sent Thursday afternoon. The league told teams that it was going to more-stringent policies “in light of the rapidly-developing coronavirus situation, and consistent with evolving advice from health experts regarding how to promote individual and public health while minimizing the spread of the virus.”

As recently as Monday, the NBA was telling teams that individual workouts could take place at team facilities using what the league called the “one player, one coach, one basket” rule. Now, that’s not even permitted. If players are going to work out during the league’s shutdown, they’ll have to do it at home or some other private facility. Public facilities, like gyms or college courts — many of which are closed anyway — aren’t permitted to be used by NBA players under the league’s coronavirus policy.

Essential activities, by NBA definition, include buying food, medicine, or other necessary supplies; obtaining critical medical services; providing necessary care for a family member in another household; or attending to some other emergency.

Brooklyn, Utah and Detroit join the Celtics and Lakers as teams known to have players who have tested positive. In all, seven NBA teams — when adding the 76ers and Nuggets — have revealed positive tests.

Across the U.S., the death toll has reached at least 178 and known infections climbed past 11,000 Thursday.

“We will navigate these uncharted waters together,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder wrote in an open letter to Utah fans on Thursday, thanking them for their support. “Right now, we are all sacrificing in our own unique ways — for our health and for the greater good — and that is critical.”

With the belief that there are going to be no NBA games for several more weeks, at minimum, the league clearly felt Thursday was the right time to take the additional step of urging players to limit exposure.

The NBA said its infectious disease specialists agree with other public health experts and that, “to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus ... until further notice, team practice or training facilities” needed to be closed to players and staff. The league said the ban applies to G League facilities as well.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

The NBA had already banned teams, as part of the coronavirus response, from using public health clubs, fitness centers, gyms and college facilities. Teams can, however, set players up with training, conditioning, or other instructional materials for use at their homes.

“I’m incredibly blessed to just have some free weights here. I have a versa climber. I have enough stuff that I won’t take a step back,” Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers said Thursday. “I’ll make sure that I’m maintaining and hopefully keep my wind up and stay strong and just keep that constant tension on my body because it’s tough right now. I haven’t really left the house much.”

The league also reminded teams Thursday that it recommends players remain in their team markets and avoid all non-essential travel, though players -- in concert with their team -- can choose to go to another city and stay there instead. But players still cannot travel outside of North America; one of the reasons for that is logistical, since it is unclear if players who hypothetically want to return to homes in Europe would be allowed to fly back to the U.S.

Thursday was the eighth full day of the NBA’s shutdown because of the virus. That brings the total of games missed to 57, including the two called off on March 11 — the night that the positive test of Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert was revealed and the league announced that it was suspending the season.

Smart and the Celtics played Utah on March 6. The Jazz have two players dealing with the virus; All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, whose positive result was revealed March 12, is the other.






Los organizadores de Tokio 2020 planean discretamente un posible retraso de las Olimpiadas

Por Maki Shiraki y Ju-min Park

TOKIO, 22 mar (Reuters) - Los organizadores de Tokio 2020 han comenzado a redactar posibles alternativas a la celebración de las Olimpiadas este verano, según dijeron dos fuentes familiarizadas con las conversaciones, en contraste con la postura del Gobierno japonés de que el aplazamiento no es una opción.

FOTO DE ARCHIVO: Una ilustración con sangre falsa en tubos de ensayo etiquetados con la enfermedad del coronavirus (COVID-19) frente al logo de las Olimpiadas de Tokio 2020, el 19 de marzo de 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustración

Mientras que el brote de coronavirus ha interrumpido los eventos deportivos en todo el mundo, Japón ha sido firme en decir que los Juegos continuarán. El portavoz del Gobierno dijo el miércoles que Tokio no se estaba preparando para el aplazamiento.

Shinzo Abe ha apostado su legado como el primer ministro de Japón con mayor tiempo de servicio en los Juegos y espera un auge en el turismo y el gasto de los consumidores. El riesgo es de más de 3.000 millones de dólares en patrocinio nacional, un récord en los Juegos Olímpicos, y unos 12.000 millones de dólares invertidos en los preparativos.

“Se nos ha pedido que hagamos una simulación en caso de aplazamiento”, dijo una de las fuentes, una autoridad cercana al comité organizador que participa en la elaboración de los escenarios.

Ambas fuentes hablaron bajo condición de anonimato porque no estaban autorizadas a hablar con los medios de comunicación.

“Estamos haciendo planes alternativos -planes B, C, D- considerando diferentes plazos de aplazamiento”, dijo la fuente, añadiendo que los escenarios incluyen estimaciones de costes para diferentes retrasos.

Ni los organizadores de Tokio 2020 ni el Comité Olímpico Internacional (COI) respondieron inmediatamente a una solicitud de comentarios. El Gobierno de Japón no pudo ser contactado para hacer comentarios.

Las opciones, que incluyen la reducción de los Juegos o su celebración sin espectadores, serán debatidas por el comité organizador a finales de marzo, dijo la autoridad.

La segunda fuente, que también está cerca del comité organizador de Tokio 2020, confirmó que se estaba discutiendo el aplazamiento, incluyendo retrasos de uno o dos años.

Algunos organizadores tenían la esperanza de un retraso de un mes o 45 días, dijo la fuente involucrada en la elaboración de los escenarios.

La decisión final sobre el aplazamiento tendrá que venir de la COI, pero la postura de Japón también importa.


Grandes Ligas decidió seguir pagando los sueldos a peloteros que no forman parte del roster de 40 de sus equipos

NUEVA YORK, EE.UU., 21 de marzo (MLB).- Entre MLB y el sindicato de peloteros han llegado a un acuerdo para seguir pagando los sueldos por los próximos 45 días a aquellos jugadores con contratos no garantizados y que no figuran en el roster de 40. Bob Nightengale del USA Today informó primero.

Esta decisión es sin duda una muy buena noticia para los peloteros que por el momento no saben qué les deparará el futuro y, quienes con el actual paro de actividades a causa del Coronavirus han padecido inconvenientes con el tema financiero.

Brady será grande para Tampa
A través de una transmisión en vivo mientras jugaba en la plataforma digital Twitch, el pitcher abridor Blake Snell aseguró que la firma de Tom Brady con los Bucaneros traerá más atención al área de Tampa, ciudad donde también juegan los Rays.

Y no es para menos, en 19 años vistiendo el uniforme de los Patriotas, Brady logró ganar un total de seis anillos del Super Tazón, convirtiéndose en el mariscal de campo más ganador en la historia de la NFL.

Tras no renovar contrato con Nueva Inglaterra y aceptar la oferta de los Bucaneros de Tampa, el espigado lanzador zurdo de los Rays cree que su llegada a ese rincón de los Estados Unidos será benéfica también para ellos, pues es indudable que los ojos ahora estarán sobre Tom Brady jugando en la Florida.

Aficionado infectado lanzará primera bola para Atléticos
Justin Wilhite, quien ha sido aficionado de los Atléticos por muchos años, dio positivo al virus COVID-19 hace poco. Wilhite decidió relatar su lucha contra la enfermedad en una serie de tuits que llamaron la atención de muchas personas por todo el mundo, incluyendo el presidente de los Atléticos, Dave Kaval.

“Tiene su gorra y su boina de los Atléticos en todos los videos y fotos”, dijo Kaval en “A’s Cast,” la estación de audio del club en TuneIn. “Cuando lo vi, lo primero que pensé fue, ‘Tenemos que hacer algo por este muchacho’”.

Ese algo fue una oferta para lanzar la primera bola en el Coliseo de Oakland cuando los Atléticos y el resto de Grandes Ligas puedan volver a la acción. Kaval le hizo la oferta a Wilhite públicamente en las redes sociales y luego dejó en claro que estaba en serio.

“Lo vamos a hacer”, dijo Kaval. “He intercambiado un montón de mensajes de texto con él y con su hermano. Será tremendo tenerlo ahí.
“Lanzar la primera bola de una temporada que obviamente se ha visto tan afectada por este virus, creo que será una forma increíble de sanar como comunidad y celebrar su batalla, que ojalá esté por terminar. Estamos ansiosos de que llegue ese momento”.

Wilhite, quien tiene 39 años y padece de diabetes tipo 1, está de buen ánimo durante su cuarentena en su casa en la ciudad de Sacramento y dice sentirse positivo de poder ganar la lucha en la que ahora mismo se encuentra.



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