The Canadian Olympic Committee announced on Sunday that the country won’t be participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as COVID-19 continues to spread globally.
COC, along with the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) made the decision on March 22, urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Games this year, according to a statement published by CBC News on Twitter.
BREAKING: The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee will refuse to send athletes to the Tokyo Olympics if the event is not postponed. The 2020 Games are currently set to begin on July 24. News release: pic.twitter.com/NT8twsqAXI
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) March 23, 2020
“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,” the statement reads.
“The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and 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.”
Canceling the Olympics “is not on the agenda,” according to IOC president, Thomas Bach. However, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that postponing the Games is an option if the condition becomes “difficult,” South China Morning Post reported.
IOC corporate communications and public affairs director Christian Klaue expressed IOC’s confidence in finalizing the scenario for planning the Games within the next four weeks in a tweet posted on Monday.
The IOC is confident that it will have finalised the scenario planning for the Olympic Games #Tokyo2020 within the next 4 vweeks. – Cancellation of the Games would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda. https://t.co/pmfVBs9zzK
— Christian Klaue (@ChKlaue) March 22, 2020
The IOC has also set a four-week deadline to decide the fate of the Games this year following a meeting.
After Canada, Australia became the second country to pull out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as its athletes were told to prepare for a 12-month postponement.
The Australian Olympic Committee said it was impossible to assemble an Australian team for this summer as it called the coronavirus pandemic an “untenable situation.”
This year’s Olympics is set to take place from July 24 to Aug. 9, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.
Feature Image via Getty