Team Canada will not compete in Tokyo 2020

Canadian Olympic Athletes. (Photo via @TeamCanada on Twitter.)

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) will not send athletes to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Both organizations said the decision was difficult, but have chosen to do so to protect its athletes from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COC and CPC have called on the International Olympic Committee, (IOC) the International Paralympic Committee, (IPC) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the 2020 summer Games for one year.

Both committees added that they understand the complexities cancelling this year’s games would bring but say the health and safety of the athletes, and the world community is more important.

“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,” the COC and CPC said in a joined written statement.

The IOC issued a letter on Sunday afternoon stating that a cancellation “is not on the agenda” and that doing so “would not solve any of the problems or help anybody.” In the letter, IOC president Thomas Bach said their leading principle is to “safeguard the health of everyone involved” and to “contribute to containing the virus.”

The COC and CPC have thanked the IOC for acknowledging the health and safety of nations adding “we are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport.”