Canada and Australia withdraw from 2020 Olympics

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 24 March 2020

Canada and Australia have become the first two nations to pull out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

‘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 Canadian Olympic Committee said.

Australia’s Olympic Committee followed with an announcement shortly after, saying that it ‘unanimously agreed that an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad.’

The withdrawals came shortly before Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, suggested that the Olympic Games, which are scheduled to begin in July, may be postponed, when he addressed Japan’s parliament on Monday.

‘If the IOC’s decision means it becomes impossible to hold [the Olympics] in a “complete form,” as I have previously said, then a decision may have to be made to postpone them,’ Abe said, according to CNBC. He also said that cancelling the event is ‘not an option.’

The Canadian Olympic Committee made an urgent appeal for the Games to be postponed for a full year in a statement:

‘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,’ said the release. ‘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.’

Image: Pixabay

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