Both the USA Track and Field (USATF), the governing body of American athletics, and USA Swimming have called for a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.

While the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee have said athletes should continue their preparations amid the coronavirus pandemic, the USATF, in a letter to United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) chief executive Sarah Hirshland, asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Games which are scheduled to run from 24 July - 9 August.

"We certainly understand the ramifications of this request, and the realities of trying to coordinate the logistics of a postponed Olympic Games around the schedules of other athletes, sport federations, key stakeholders etc, but the alternative of moving forward in light of the current global situation would not be in the best interest of our athletes (as difficult as that decision might be)," USATF chief executive Max Siegel said in the letter.

The U.S. track and field federation joined another leading U.S. Olympic sport, USA Swimming, in seeking a delay to the Games.

The heavily decorated swimming program expressed its concerns in a letter to the USOPC, joining a chorus of growing international concern and calls to have the Olympics rescheduled.

"We have watched our athletes' worlds be turned upside down," USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey wrote.

"The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritise everyone's health and safety and appropriately recognise the toll this global pandemic is taking on athletic preparations."

Meanwhile, the IOC has pressed on during the health crisis, saying the Games will go ahead as scheduled.

The issue has sharply divided athletes globally and USATF said no decision should be made at the expense of the safety and well-being of our athletes.

"We acknowledge that there are no perfect answers, and that this is a very complex and difficult decision, but this position (to postpone the Games) at least provides our athletes with the comfort of knowing that they will have adequate time to properly prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to participate in a safe and successful Olympic Games," it said.

"We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes."

So far no specific deadline for making a decision on whether or not to take part in the Tokyo Games has been put in place and the USOPC said it will take guidance from the medical community.

"We are trying to be as prepared as we can be for any variety of potential outcomes," said Hirshland. "We are focused on Tokyo 2020 and will continue to be. As long as that possibility stays ahead of us we will do everything we can to not give up on our athletes...

"Our priority, and frankly we view it as our obligation to the athletes we serve, is to be ready if there is an opportunity for them.

"We are not going to be the reason they don't have that opportunity. We will be there and we will be ready."