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Australian and Canadian Olympic Committees will not send athletes to the Olympic Games 2020, and call on IOC to postpone

Monday, 23 March 2020
Olympic Games 2020

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) have announced that they will not be sending Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020.  The decision is backed by the athletes’ commissions, national sports organizations and the government of Canada. 

Furthermore, the COC and CPC urgently called 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. “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 statement from COC and CPC. “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.”

At the beginning of last week, the IOC stated that it remained “fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020”. With four months to go to the Games, the IOC said there was no “need for any drastic decisions at this stage” and that “any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive".

However, following stakeholder consultations, the IOC Executive Board released another press communication on Sunday March 22nd – announcing that it will step up its scenario-planning for the Olympic Games 2020 in order to safeguard the health of all involved and to contribute to the containment of COVID-19. “These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games. This step will allow better visibility of the rapidly changing development of the health situation around the world and in Japan. It will serve as the basis for the best decision in the interest of the athletes and everyone else involved,” reads the IOC statement. “(…) there is a dramatic increase in cases and new outbreaks of COVID-19 in different countries on different continents. This led the EB to the conclusion that the IOC needs to take the next step in its scenario-planning."

Today, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) announced that it plans for postponement of the Olympic Games. The AOC said Australian athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the summer of 2021. “The AOC held an Executive Board meeting via teleconference this morning and unanimously agreed that an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad,” reads the statement. “The IOC had adopted the key principles of putting athlete health first and ensuring it acted in their best interests and the interests of sport. This decision reflects those principles.”

Read the full statement from IOC here. 

Read the full statement from COC/CPC here. 

Read the full statement from AOC here. 

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