FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Tuesday morning the International Olympic Committee along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers decided that the Tokyo Games cannot go ahead as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak. It’s a decision that also impacts the Paralympic Games as well.
Fort Wayne is home to one of the Paralympic training facilities. Turnstone is one of the eleven designated sites throughout the country that supports the training and development of aspiring athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic family. It is also the official home for U-S-A Goalball. Athletes and coaches who have been training at Turnstone for the 2020 games are still digesting the news of the postponement.
Turnstone CEO Mike Mushett says the decision didn’t come as a complete surprise, “There has been a lot of conversation about the potential postponement of the games. When it came through, first reaction disappointment, but I feel bad for the athletes who were well into their training cycle and looking very much forward to competing in August and September. So they will have to go back to square one in their training programs”
While the decision may be hard to hear, the Executive Director of the United States Association of Blind Athletes, Mark Lucas, agrees with the decision, “I think the IOC made the absolute right decision by putting the safety and well being of our athletes first and foremost around the world, by postponing the games. It will require athletes, coaching staff and administrators to go from a 4-year training cycle to a 5-year training cycle, and how we do that is yet to be determined.”
Lucas adds he believes that blind athletes are resilient and will continue to be resilient and ready when the Paralympic games get going. There is no official date for when the Olympics or Paralympics may happen, but the IOC says the games will be held “not later than summer 2021” but they will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.