For The Cyclists’ Alliance, the most critical thing in the ongoing Tokyo Olympic Games discussion is strong leadership and communication from the UCI. Without strong leadership and clear communication from the UCI athletes cannot make informed decisions about their preparation for the upcoming Games.
The I.O.C have confirmed that it will postpone the Tokyo Games. Many national associations are already planning for a postponed Olympic Games to be held in the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2021.
This decision should come as no surprise, Canada and Australian having already withdrawn from the Games if held in 2020. Moreover, a survey of 4000 track and field athletes from six continents showed that 78% of the competitors wanted the Tokyo Games to be postponed. In addition, 87% said the Covid-19 outbreak had adversely affected their training and the average concern for their health and safety was 68 on a scale of 1 to 100 (with 100 representing the greatest concern), if the games opened as planned in July.
It was clear that the athletes overwhelmingly wanted the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to be postponed and national associations were in step with their athletes.
While leaders of the International Olympic Committee went back and forth with the organisers of the Toyko Games, sponsors, media partners and leaders of international sports federations over the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UCI remained quiet about the implications for the world of cycling.
Athletes around the world have tried to jump into the debate; Some speaking to the press; Others have made their voices heard on social media. But none truly understand what postponing the Tokyo Olympic Games will mean in the world of cycling. While the UCI and its partners are meeting regularly, the absence of rider representation in these meetings is of concern for TCA and the implications of Covid-19 on the world of cycling are of great concern for the riders. We, the riders, request that the UCI explain the following:
The qualification period for each discipline of cycling for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games has concluded. If the Tokyo Games are postponed will the qualified teams remain the same or will qualification re-open;
What will be the qualification process for teams and riders for the upcoming 2020 World Championships;
What is the UCI doing to support teams through this period to ensure they can continue to employ and pay riders; and
How will riders be involved in any discussion about the above. What is the UCI’s process for engaging riders to ensure they are appropriately consulted?
TCA, as the chosen rider representatives, would welcome any engagement from the UCI in formulating strategies and communication to assist riders best prepare for this period of uncertainty.
The Cyclists' Alliance