Olympic men’s volleyball tournament, rest of summer games postponed amid coronavirus

Photo courtesy of the FIVB

The U.S. Men’s National Team will need to wait at least one more year before making its run at an Olympic gold medal.

The International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that it postponed the 2020 games in Tokyo because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been more than more than 370,000 cases of the coronavirus throughout the world as of Tuesday, according to the latest World Health Organization report. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday there have been more than 44,000 cases in the United States with that number growing in recent days.

This decision to delay the Olympics comes after weeks of speculation and several sporting leagues already canceling and postponing events. Among the volleyball events previously affected by the coronavirus includes the cancellation of the 2020 men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament and the postponement of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

A new date for the summer games has not been determined. However,the IOC stated it intends to hold the event in Tokyo no later than the summer of 2021.

The United States under coach John Speraw qualified last year for the Olympics men’s volleyball tournament and is ranked No. 2 in the FIVB World Rankings.

A majority of U.S. starters return from the 2016 squad that won the Olympic bronze medal. In addition, the team won the silver medal at the 2019 FIVB World League finals.

USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis said in statement Tuesday that he supports the decision to postpone the games.

“It is the correct decision in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is accelerating in many regions of the world and is very much unpredictable at this stage,” he said. “The health and safety for the athletes, team delegations, Games administrators and worldwide fans take precedent over sport in times like these.

“I hold high confidence that the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the Japanese government will work cohesively together to reset the Games next year in a fair manner for all involved.”

The United States is slated to play Argentina, France, Russia, Tunisia and the defending gold medalists Brazil in pool play. The top four teams from that pool will advance to the Olympic quarterfinals.

The United States has won an Olympic men’s volleyball gold medal three times — 1984, 1988 and 2008.