The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada, announced on Sunday that they will not send athletes to Games held in the summer of 2020.
The release explicitly requests a postponement of one year, and thanks the IOC for "its assurance that it will not be cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games."
The Australian Olympic Committee has also officially told athletes to prepare for a postponed Games "in the northern summer of 2021: "The AOC says Australian athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021."
Read the full Canadian and Australian statements below
The full Canadian release:
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), and 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.
The full Australian release:
The AOC says Australian athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021, following the IOC’s announcement of a potential postponement of this year’s Games and changes in public health landscape in Australia and across the globe.
The AOC believes our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families, in discussion with their National Federations.
The AOC held an Executive Board meeting via teleconference this morning and unanimously agreed that an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad.
AOC Chief Executive Matt Carroll says athletes have needed certainty - they wanted to do the right thing for themselves, their families and the world community.
“We have athletes based overseas, training at central locations around Australia as teams and managing their own programs. With travel and other restrictions this becomes an untenable situation.
“The IOC had adopted the key principles of putting athlete health first and ensuring it acted in their best interests and the interests of sport. This decision reflects those principles.
“We are now in a position where we can plan with greater certainty.”
“I would like to thank AOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Steve Hooker for his valuable contribution to discussions today and over the last week, representing the views of our athletes,” Mr Carroll said.
Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo Ian Chesterman says he has communicated to athletes after receiving feedback from athletes from more than 25 sports last week.
“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.
“They have also shouldered the burden of concern for their peers around the world. That has been a consistent message to me.”
“While there will still be much to work out as a result of this change, the timing will allow athletes from around the world to properly prepare with the hope the coronavirus crisis will be under control.
“We are aware that for many such a postponement will present a range of new issues. But when the world does come together at the Tokyo Olympic Games they can be a true celebration of sport and humanity.”
Mr Chesterman said there were numerous issues that flow from any postponement, from qualification through to logistics on the ground in Tokyo, but that these can be worked through in a timely way.
Mr Carroll says he will be communicating with National Federations around Australia today to work through the issues now the situation has become clearer.