The Canadian Olympic Committee announced it won't send athletes to Tokyo unless the games are postponed by a year, becoming the first country to threaten such a move. The committee said in a statement that it was unsafe for athletes to continue training. "In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow," the committee said.
Reaction to Canada's boycott of the 2020 Tokyo Games in the summer due to concerns about the coronavirus.
COMMENTS FROM OFFICIALS
Statement from Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Paralympic Committee (CPC):
"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.
"We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport."
Australian Olympic Committee statement:
"The Australian Olympic Committee (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."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking to parliament, said postponing the Olympics was an option if holding them in their "complete form" became impossible.
"If that becomes difficult, we may have no option but to consider postponing the Games, given the Olympic principle of putting the health of athletes first."
Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, who is also responsible for sports, posted on Twitter:
"To our athletes: Representing your country at this time also means protecting your health and the health of those surrounding you ... We will keep cheering you up, everyday."
Canadian former IOC member and Olympic sprinter Charmaine Crooks posted on Twitter:
"As an Olympian, feeling for Team Canada athletes and coaches who have worked so hard…I know these decisions will impact many beyond sport! Health first."
Canadian hurdler Sage Watson, the reigning Pan American champion in the 400 metres hurdles, posted on Twitter:
“I believe in the safety of our lives but this is premature."
U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones said on Twitter: "YESSSSSS CANADA!!!!!!! pulls out of OLYMPICS UNLESS IOC POSTPONE!!! OUR HEALTH IS MORE important than sport. Hopefully the UNITED STATES is next."