Canada and Australia will not send athletes to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo because of the risks associated with the coronavirus outbreak.
Both countries’ Olympic committees also are calling for the Games to be postponed until 2021.
“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,” the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement Sunday. “This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health.”
Canada’s committee said it was willing to help the IOC search for alternatives, but that it was not safe for athletes, “their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training for these Games.”
Canada and Australia join a number of countries, including Norway, Brazil, and Slovenia that have pressed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on a possible postponement.
Meanwhile, the IOC announced that it will make a decision whether to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games at some point in the next four weeks. Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said Monday that a postponement would be unavoidable if the Games cannot be held in a complete way.
The Olympics are scheduled to begin July 24 and run through Aug. 9.