The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) has decided to not send its athletes to this year's Tokyo Olympics. The Canadian authorities have asked the Olympics Committee to push the Games by a year and have offered to help the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the rescheduling.
The demand for the rescheduling comes in light of the Coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed more than 14,600 deaths with more than 3,37,000 people testing positive.
RELEASE: The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020: https://t.co/HyOBA5wwp4 pic.twitter.com/x9OWABVxMA— Team Canada PR (@TeamCanadaPR) March 23, 2020
A statement released on Sunday evening read, "The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organisation (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 recognise the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community."
The COC stated that apart from health of the athletes, public health is at stake and "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."
The announcement comes hours after the IOC stated that cancellation is 'not on the agenda' but will be assessing all options in the next four weeks.
In the statement released, COC acknowledged the IOC letter "We also applaud the IOC for acknowledging that safeguarding the health and wellness of nations and containing the virus must be our paramount concern. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport."