Sunday evening, March 22, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) made a strong statement to the IOC that the health of the global community, including athletes, is the top priority of all sport governing bodies. The communication stressed that the Olympics be moved to 2021 and indicated that Canadian teams would not be sent to the summer games in Tokyo, Japan, in the summer of 2020.
We appreciate the COC and the CPC consulting us and all of the National Sports Organizations in the discussions before this determination was made. We fully support this decision, made in the interest of both the wider public health concerns and to keep our athletes healthy.
We are immensely proud of our national team, first in qualifying the team and duet for the 2020 Games, and in the work they had done with our coaching team to prepare for this competition season.
We know that when they are able to continue their preparation to represent Canada, they will do so with pride, determination and excellence. CAS, like many sport organizations, now look forward to the IOC decision.
The full COC/CPC statement follows:
TORONTO (March 22, 2020) – The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada, have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020.
The COC and CPC urgently call 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.
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. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.
The COC and CPC reviewed the letter and news release sent Sunday by the IOC. We are thankful to the IOC for its assurance that it will not be cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games and appreciative that it understands the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement.
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.
The COC and CPC would like to thank our athletes, partners and the Canadian sport community for their patience and for lending us their voices during these unprecedented times. We remain hopeful that the IOC and IPC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games as a part of our collective responsibility to protect our communities and work to contain the spread of the virus.