Olympic legend Ian Thorpe (pictured) urges athletes to reconsider going to the Olympic games
Olympic legend Ian Thorpe is urging Australia's athletes to consider their long-term health before deciding to compete at the Tokyo Games.
As concerns mount over the spreading coronavirus, the Australian swimming great says Olympic organisers must ensure athletes will be safe at the Games due to start on July 24.
'I would most definitely be concerned,' Thorpe told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.
Pound said any decision on whether the Olympics can proceed could be put off until late May.
'In and around that time, I'd say folks are going to have to ask: 'Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?'' Pound said.
People wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, are seen next to the Olympic rings in front of the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo, Japan, February 26
A woman wearing a face mask stands in front of the countdown clock for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games on February 26
If the IOC decided the Games can't go ahead as scheduled 'you're probably looking at a cancellation', he said.
Australian Olympic officials said preparations for the sporting showpiece in Tokyo were continuing as normal.
But five-time Olympic gold medallist Thorpe said the coronavirus risk was a factor athletes must consider before travelling to Tokyo.
'What we need to know is to use some of the best expert disease specialists to find out what is the risk to the team,' the retired swim star said.
'What is the risk to the other nations and how can we have an Olympic Games, one that is safe, that doesn't put athletes at risk?
'What you have to understand as well is there are other risks associated with an Olympic Games, the threat of a terrorist event taking place.
'... And we (athletes) take into consideration those things before we decide to compete.
'I think the decision should come down to each individual athlete.
'But whether or not they want to compete, that they should take their health into consideration first.'
Five-time Olympic gold medallist Thorpe said the coronavirus risk was a factor athletes must consider before travelling to Tokyo.
Australia's Olympic team chef de mission Ian Chesterman said on Wednesday the spread of the coronavirus was a serious concern, but there had been no indication given to Australia that the Tokyo Games won't proceed.
The coronavirus outbreak began in China two months ago and has infected more than 80,000 people globally and killed over 2700, mostly in China.
The virus has gained a foothold in South Korea, the Middle East and Europe, raising fears of a pandemic. Japan has reported four deaths.
AUSTRALIANS WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
NEW SOUTH WALES: 4
February 6February 21
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 3
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 1