Lolo Jones calls on IOC to postpone Olympics amid coronavirus pandemic

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Olympian Lolo Jones implored the International Olympic Committee to postpone to the upcoming Tokyo Games over the coronavirus pandemic as countries begin to bar their athletes from competing.

Jones, a 37-year-old Olympic hurdler, told The Associated Press on Saturday that, by not postponing the event, it is sending athletes a message to stay ready just in case the Games do go on despite many regions going into lockdown.

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“It's tearing athletes apart,” Jones said. “We want to be like everyone else. We want to be healthy, responsible citizens. But we're also afraid the IOC is going to say, in a month, that the games are on, and, what, hopefully you're going to still be in shape?”

While Jones has access to a track in her home state of Louisiana, she has heeded the warnings of doctors and medical experts in staying home.

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“I fear contaminating my coach,” Jones said. “And I fear that we're not doing our due diligence, as athletes, to send the message: We need to be sticking in our house, self-quarantining. We've got bigger things to worry about right now” than training.”

Canada and Australia have already announced they will not be sending athletes to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo if the Games are not postponed.

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The IOC said Sunday it would take four weeks to weigh options and to plan different scenarios, including postponement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.