Postpone the Olympics? Tokyo Official Backtracks After Causing Confusion

As sports organizations grappled with their decisions, updates from other sports organizations worldwide produced an incessant, disorderly drumbeat of bad news.

On Wednesday, for instance, the International Tennis Federation said the Fed Cup finals, a women’s team event scheduled for April in Budapest, would be postponed as Hungary banned gatherings of more than 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors.

In Montreal, the World Figure Skating Championships, scheduled to start next Wednesday, were canceled. And in Are, Sweden, Mikaela Shiffrin, a three-time defending Alpine skiing World Cup champion, was denied a chance to claim another title when the final races of the season were canceled less than 24 hours before they were set to begin.

“I do think it was the right call for these races to be canceled,” said Shiffrin, who finished the season in second place after missing six weeks following the death of her father. “It affects me on multiple levels, but it affects the entire world, really.”

These decisions could serve as a preview of what might happen with the Olympics, the biggest sporting event in the world. The scrutiny will only grow sharper in the coming weeks.

Noting that “many questions remain unanswered,” two influential United States senators pressed the I.O.C. on Wednesday to offer “a transparent, detailed description of protocols in place to deter further spread of the disease.”

“This public event, particularly with an exposed population that has a wide distribution geographically, is concerning,” the senators, Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, and Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, warned in a letter to Thomas Bach, the I.O.C. president. “If not handled properly, this year’s Olympic Games present a dangerous opportunity for Covid-19 to spread at unprecedented levels throughout the globe.”