Canada, Australia Pulls Athletes from 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
With the Summer Olympics still a few months away, the IOC plans to make a final decision on whether or not the Games will go on as scheduled within the next four weeks.
The Olympics are currently slated to take place in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9.
“The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement,” the IOC said as part of a lengthy statement. “The IOC is confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks, and greatly appreciates the solidarity and partnership of the [national Olympic committees] and [international federations] in supporting the athletes and adapting Games planning.”
Meanwhile, both the Canadian Olympic (COC) and Paralympic Committee (CPC), as well as Australia’s Olympic Committee have announced that due to the rising threat of COVID-19, they have decided to pull their athletes from the upcoming Games if they are to take place as currently scheduled.
More than a performance, a record, or a medal.
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) March 23, 2020
The Team Canada basketball program under head coach Nick Nurse was set to boast one of its strongest squads to date if they were to advance past the qualification stage, featuring talent such as Jamal Murray, Dillon Brooks, RJ Barrett, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Australian team, as per usual, were ready to enter the Olympics as one of the powerhouses, led by the likes of Ben Simmons, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, and Andrew Bogut.
“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,” the COC and CPC said in a joined written statement on Sunday.
The IOC will continue to receive pressure to postpone the Summer Olympics, with other countries such as Brazil and Norway threatening to pull their athletes as well.