Sebastian Coe has told of his relief at the Olympics being postponed – as it will ensure athletes stay on the right side of the law.
World Athletics boss Coe pushed for a delay in sport’s greatest show before the decision was finally taken by Olympic chiefs last week.
The architect of London 2012 admitted that saving competitors from “mental turmoil” had been a key consideration.
“We didn’t want to have the athletes in a position where they were countering government advice, maybe even breaking the law,” said the Lord of the Rings.
“And of course in the back of their minds was always that concern, it wasn’t just their own training programme, but that they ran the risk of effectively infecting themselves, their families, their kids, grandparents or parents.
“We just wanted to take them out of that mental turmoil as quickly as we possibly could.
“We’re no different from everyone else out there,” Coe told TalkSPORT. “But I think we just concluded that sport, on this occasion, had to take a back seat.”
Following confirmation on Friday by Coe that athletes already qualified will keep their spots for the rescheduled Games next year, Japan’s national broadcaster NHK revealed that the 2021 dates for the opening and closing ceremony are set to be confirmed for July 23 and August 8.
Meanwhile, newly appointed UK Athletics chief executive Joanna Coates insists she wants to change the “medals at all costs” perception and “make people proud of the sport again”.
Coates said: “I hope that Dina (Asher-Smith) wins. I believe she will and we want her to.
“But it’s about her story, her journey in athletics and what athletics can bring to anybody that participates. That’s what it should be about.”