Canada, Australia Will Not Send Athletes To The Olympics
The first major steps to put the Olympics in jeopardy have officially been made. Playing a game of chess, Canada and Australia have the advantage. The Canadian Olympic Committee became the first major entity to state they won’t send their athletes to the Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan this summer.
The concerns by the committees were due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health,” the COC stated in a release to CBC News. “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 committee was interested in finding alternatives, but would not want the games to continue if trends for the virus continue to increase. While Canada wasn’t the first country to press the International Olympic Committee (Norway, Brazil and Slovenia), they became the first to threaten an official absence from competition.
Following Canada’s statement, Australia’s Olympic Committee had interest in the games, but didn’t want to risk the health of the athletes. Instead, they will be focusing on 2021.
“Our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families,” the AOC stated, via CNN. Ian Chesterman, Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo stated the following:
“It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July. Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them.”
This comes a few days after Japanese Olympic Committee member Kaori Yamaguchi pleaded her case that the Summer Games, set to take place from July 24 to August 9, should be postponed. She stated she fears for the safety of all athletes involved. Yamaguchi will be speaking to the JOC this week to discuss an option to postpone the games.
The Olympics have already been affected by the coronavirus in some way. Several sports related to the Olympics have already been impacted by the coronavirus. The Israeli judo team cancelled their training camp in Japan, while the IOC Boxing Task Force had to suspend all boxing qualifiers as they were happening. The International Judo Federation also suspended all events, while the Karate 1-Premier League events in Rabat, Morocco and Madrid were cancelled.
IOC member Dick Pound stated a while back how difficult it would be to make a decision right away on the Olympics. As of this moment, the plan is for the Olympics to go on as planned.
“As far as we all know, you’re going to be in Tokyo,” Pound stated. “All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”
The idea to keep the Summer Games has not budged thanks to the IOC, who sent out another statement that the show will go on. They are working out ways to make sure the event is safe for everyone. With the world on lockdown, however, it may be difficult to meet for the ceremonies.