Despite worldwide concern and speculation about whether the fast-spreading virus outbreak will affect the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC’s leadership is not joining in the debate.

“Neither the word cancellation nor the word postponement was even mentioned,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach told a news conference Wednesday about the second day of executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Asked how he could be so confident the Olympics will go ahead as scheduled from July 24 to Aug. 9, Bach replied: “Because we talk to the experts.”

“We are a sports organization and we follow the advice of the World Health Organization.”

All sporting events in Italy will take place without fans present for at least the next month because of the virus outbreak in the country, the Italian government announced.

Italy is the epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak. More than 100 people have died and more than 3,000 have been infected with COVID-19.

All sporting events throughout the country must take place without fans present until April 3. Schools and universities have been ordered to close until March 15.

Chicago State and Missouri-Kansas City have canceled men’s basketball games this weekend at Seattle University, and the Chicago State’s women’s basketball team won’t play home games against Seattle and Utah Valley.

The cancellations are believed to be the first by a major sport in the United States due to the coronavirus.


XFINITY SERIES: NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Tony Stewart announced plans to drive in the Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4. The three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee will headline the race on the 14-turn, 2.44-mile road course.

The 48-year-old Indiana native has competed in 18 Brickyard 400s, five Indianapolis 500s and four IROC Series races at the famed track. He is a two-time Brickyard 400 winner (2005, 2007) and a member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame. He retired from full-time NASCAR racing after the 2016 season.


FA CUP: Manchester City stayed on course to retain its championship with a 1-0 win at second-tier Sheffield Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals, while Tottenham was knocked out on penalties by Norwich.

After his team’s loss, Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier climbed into the stands to confront a fan in a physical altercation.

Tottenham Manager Jose Mourinho said the supporter had apparently insulted Dier’s brother, but added that the England international was wrong to seek out the confrontation.

FRENCH CUP: Kylian Mbappe’s hat trick and Neymar’s penalty kick helped Paris Saint-Germain win 5-1 at Lyon to reach a sixth straight French Cup final.


RUNNER BANNED: Olympic steeplechase champion Ruth Jebet was banned four years for doping.

The Kenya-born Jebet, who competes for Bahrain, tested positive for the stamina-boosting drug EPO in a sample she gave in December 2017. She won her Olympic gold medal in 2016 and was the world record holder at the time she tested positive.

Her ban is dated from Feb. 2018. It doesn’t affect her gold medal from the 2016 Olympics because she won that before testing positive.

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