Canada has become the first nation to formally opt out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to stave off the challenge of the Coronavirus global pandemic. The nation that has garnered four gold medals at the last edition of the Games in Rio de Janeiro has confirmed that its athletes will not be participating in the Olympics Games in Tokyo this year.
There also remains uncertainty over the Games as the International Olympic Committee in the next four weeks will be taking a call on the 2020 Olympics’ immediate future.
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada, have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020, Olympics Canada has stated in a Press release.
“The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Games for one year and we offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring. 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,” states the Press release.
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. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow, the release further adds.
Canadian Olympic authorities have also expressed hope that the IOC and IPC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games as a part of a collective responsibility to protect our communities and work to contain the spread of the virus.