Canada won’t be at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics unless the Games are postponed by a year.
The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee issued joint statements on Sunday saying that they refuse to send their teams to Tokyo unless their respective Games are pushed back a year.
The Tokyo Olympics are currently scheduled to start July 24 and the Paralympics are slated to follow on Aug. 25.
RELEASE: The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020: https://t.co/HyOBA5wwp4 pic.twitter.com/x9OWABVxMA
— Team Canada PR (@TeamCanadaPR) March 23, 2020
“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” reads the COC’s statement.
“This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games.”
The COC and CPC’s statements come amid a chorus of criticism aimed at the International Olympic Committee’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Hayley Wickenheiser (@wick_22) March 23, 2020
IOC president Thomas Bach said earlier Sunday that they’d set a deadline of four weeks to determine the fate of the Games, and that the global organization is considering options including postponement.
Cancelling the Games entirely, Bach said, is not being considered. It was the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began that the IOC had admitted that it would consider other options.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics would be unavoidable if the games cannot be held in a complete way because of the coronavirus impact.
He was commenting on the International Olympic Committee plan to examine the situation over the next few weeks and make a decision, which could include a postponement.
Abe, speaking at a parliamentary session, ruled out the possibility of a cancellation.