Canada decided not to send its athletes to the Olympic Games in Tokyo if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) doesn’t postpone the competition for 2021. The country made this decision due to concerns over the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Canadian Olympic Committee (COI) announced the news on Sunday.
“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,” said COI in a statement. “This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health.”
Canada has a significant number of athletes on Olympics each year, with the number of those representing the country reaching 314 at Rio games in 2016. Canada won a total of 22 medals that year, including four gold ones.
IOC made it clear that the final decision on the Olympic Games, scheduled to take place between July 24th and August 9th, will be made in the next four weeks. However, a number of countries have pressed on the committee to postpone the games for the next year, including Slovenia, Norway, and Brazil. Some countries like Australia are also taking a similar approach and have advised their athletes to prepare like the Olympics won’t be held this year.
U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland, on the other hand, announced that the United States won’t be taking a stand on the postponement. According to Hirshland, the U.S. will follow the IOC’s recommendations regarding this matter.