*Updated Mar. 24, 2020*
The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees jointly announced Sunday that Canadian athletes will not be sent to the Summer Games in 2020 due to COVID-19 risks.
The decision is backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada.
“We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport,” read the statement from the COC and CPC.
The news follows an announcement earlier Sunday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that a postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games was being considered. A decision by the IOC is to be made within four weeks.
Team Canada is now ramping up the pressure to postpone.
“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,” read the statement.
“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 qualified an equestrian team in dressage for the Tokyo Games as well as an individual athlete in jumping and two individual athletes in eventing.
The COC and CPC “remain hopeful that the IOC and IPC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games as a part of our collective responsibility to protect our communities and work to contain the spread of the virus.”
On Tuesday, the IOC officially postponed the Tokyo Games.