Team Canada is out of the Olympics barring a delay of at least one year.
While the International Olympic Committee weighs delaying the 2020 Summer Olympics, Canada withdrew from the Games on Sunday night in a formal announcement asking for a one-year delay.
“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 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,” Team Canada said in a statement.
Canada sent more than 300 athletes to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio and took home 22 medals.
#TeamCanada will not send athletes to Games in summer 2020 due to COVID-19 risks.
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) March 23, 2020
USA Swimming and Track separately called for a delay of the Olympics to 2021 as the world comes to grips with coronavirus.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed publicly the possibility of postponing the Games for the first time last week.
The IOC said Sunday it would know in the next four weeks whether the Olympics, scheduled to begin in July in Tokyo, would be delayed.
“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,” Team Canada said in the statement. “The COC and CPC reviewed the letter and news release sent Sunday by the IOC. We are thankful to the IOC for its assurance that it will not be cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games and appreciative that it understands the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement. We also applaud the IOC for acknowledging that safeguarding the health and wellness of nations and containing the virus must be our paramount concern. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport.”
–Field Level Media