USA federation surveying gymnasts on postponing Olympics

FILE PHOTO: Artistic Gymnastics – 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships – Women’s Balance Beam Final – Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart, Germany – October 13, 2019 Gold medalist Simone Biles of the U.S. celebrates on the podium with her medal and flowers REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

(Reuters) – USA Gymnastics said on Friday the federation was surveying its athletes on the possibility of postponing the Tokyo Olympics.

“We know and respect that they may have different views on how best to advocate for their interests, which is why, this afternoon, we asked our Olympic hopefuls to share their thoughts about the possibility of a postponement with us through an anonymous survey,” Li Li Leung, president and chief executive officer of USA Gymnastics, said in a statement to Reuters.

“We want to ensure that their voice comes through in our advocacy, and particularly on this important topic,” added the federation whose athletes are expected to be among the top attractions at the Olympics.

The U.S women, spearheaded by four-time Olympic and 19-time world champion Simone Biles, will be favorites to complete a hat-trick of team titles in Japan.

USA Gymnastics’s action followed USA Swimming on Friday calling for the Games, scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9 , to be postponed for a year.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) had said hours earlier said athletes should continue their preparations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The outbreak has infected over 250,000 people and killed more than 10,000, bringing global sport to a virtual standstill.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has pressed on during the health crisis, saying the Games will go ahead as scheduled, sharply dividing athletes globally.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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