If the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics go ahead this year, it will be without Team Canada. In a statement on Monday, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee confirmed that they would not be sending athletes to Tokyo this summer. While the 2020 Olympics is still scheduled to go ahead, many agencies are calling for the games to be cancelled.
Sharing their decision on Monday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) explained that the safety of the Canadian teams and the public would take priority over their attendance.
“This is not solely about athlete health- it is about public health,” their statement explained.
“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 two committees also noted that participating in the summer games would oppose all of the public health advice that is currently being given to Canadians.
"We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport," they said.
The summer games, which are scheduled to take place in Tokyo, are yet to be officially cancelled or postponed by organizers.
In addition to sharing their decision to withdraw from the games, the notice urged the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the World Health Organization to postpone the event for one year.
“We offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring,” Team Canada explained.
“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.”
#TeamCanada will not send athletes to Games in summer 2020 due to COVID-19 risks. 🔗https://t.co/AKmI2rbyeO https://t.co/8McEbgirVp— Team Canada (@Team Canada)1584927340.0
Taking to social media to share their decision, the COC and CPC wrote, "More than a performance, a record, or a medal. It’s about being part of something bigger."
Adding the hashtag #TeamCanada, the committees shared a post that called on organizers to postpone the event.
"Postpone today, conquer tomorrow," the image read.
The decision to withdraw Team Canada from Tokyo has been backed by Athletes' Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada.
Shortly after this move was made, Australia also announced that they’d be pulling out of the games due to COVID-19 concerns.
Like Canada, they are also calling on the International Olympic Committee to delay the event.