Published: Mon, March 23, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Canada refusing to attend 2020 Olympics amid COVID-19 pandemic

Canada refusing to attend 2020 Olympics amid COVID-19 pandemic

"As the pandemic gets worse and worse and there are more and more societal restrictions put in place, I think the call needs to be made now", said British cyclist Callum Skinner, who fronts the Global Athlete.

"On behalf of the Canadian Para athlete community, we appreciate that the athletes' best interests are at the core of this position and fully support the direction of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Canadian Olympic Committee to not send a team to Tokyo this summer and request a one-year postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games".

He said Mori relayed his view to IOC President Thomas Bach.

The comments come as Canada announced it would not send its team to the Olympics and Paralympics in the summer of 2020.

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More than 13,000 people have died globally since the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, late a year ago.

"This is not exclusively about athlete health - it is about public health", their statement added. "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". Sounds like if push comes to shove - and the coronavirus becomes insurmountable for the foreseeable future - the International Olympic Committee would postpone the games at best. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport.

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Also, IOC emphasized that "a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody".

Australian Olympic Committee Chief Executive Matt Carroll (L) and Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Ian Chesterman address the media during a press conference regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney, Australia, March 19, 2020.

The virus has already had an impact, with qualifiers cancelled and events to celebrate the Olympic torch arrival and relay scaled back.

"Cancellation is not an option, ' Abe said, echoing comments from International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach, who ruled out scrapping the Games, saying it 'would not solve any problem and would help nobody".

"The progress reflected in today's International Olympic Committee update to the global athlete community is an important step in providing clarity, but our athlete community continues to face enormous ambiguity surrounding the 2020 Games in Tokyo", said USOPC chief executive Sarah Hirshland and USOPC athletes' advisory council chair Han Xiao in a joint statement. "Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus", Bach wrote.

"If that becomes hard, we may have no option but to consider postponing the Games", he told parliament.

Under mounting pressure from athletes, federations and national committees to postpone the Games, the IOC did a partial U-turn on Sunday after long insisting, with Tokyo organisers, that the Games would go ahead as planned.

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