The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their athletes’ commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada, decided to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020 due to coronavirus concerns.

The COC and CPC said they are “urgently” calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), 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.”

COC and CPC cited public health as well as athlete health for the decision. “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,” they said. “In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”

Statement from Marc-André Fabien, president, Canadian Paralympic Committee:
“The health of the global community is the priority before we can think to bring the world’s best athletes together for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. As a global sports movement, we have a duty to set an example for ethical and socially responsible decision making. While we appreciate that all possible scenarios are now being evaluated, it is critical to make a prompt decision now in order to provide a clear path ahead. We are relieved that canceling the Games is not a consideration, but we feel that a four-week timeline on a decision is not soon enough and that a one-year postponement of the Games is truly the only option. These have been extremely trying times for all athletes, not being able to train and prepare as per their plans with the immense stress of not knowing if the Games will go ahead. The best way forward is the one that puts the well-being of the athletes and all involved at the forefront.”

Statement from Stephanie Dixon, chef de mission, Tokyo 2020 Canadian Paralympic Team:
“We know that these have been incredibly stressful, difficult, and worrying times for all of our Canadian athletes, and in order to help alleviate this in some way, action must be taken now to make a responsible decision regarding the timing of Tokyo 2020. We need a clear path forward, and the current situation does not provide this. We are no longer existing in a fair playing ground; athletes have not been able to train and compete as they follow the government restrictions put in place, and some of our Para athletes are in fact at increased health risks with compromised immune systems. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure our Canadian athletes are in the right situation to stay safe and healthy, both physically and mentally, and will not risk their well-being. It would be a disrespect to them, and to the globe as a whole as we all do our part to stop the spread of this virus, to hold the Games as scheduled.”

Statement from Tony Walby, chair, Canadian Paralympic Athletes’ Council:
“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.”

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