Canada was the first country not to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) on March 23 announced that they would not send athletes to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan. The Canadian decision was made in the context that the COVID-19 pandemic had spread to 192 countries and territories around the world.
Many countries call for postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games.
Just hours after Canada announced its withdrawal from the Olympics, Australia stated that it would not send athletes and officials to this year’s Summer Olympics, amidst the still complicated COVID-19 pandemic.
Sharing the same view with Canada, the Olympic Committee of Australia said: “We believe that the health of the athletes and those around them should be a top priority so that they can return to their families. The national federation supported the restricted movement of athletes, in a recent discussion with us”.
Earlier, three countries, Norway, Brazil and Slovenia also called for a postponement of the biggest sports festival on the planet. In addition, a series of national Olympic committees, sports federations and athletes from all over the world simultaneously protested the organization of the Summer Olympics this July.
In light of these developments, Japanese government officials have met with the 2020 Tokyo Organizing Committee on plans to postpone the tournament, possibly to October this year, or to summer 2022. Even the option to cancel the whole important sports event has been taken into account, despite the Olympic torch that was transferred from Greece to Japan last week.
The 2020 Olympics will postpone whether the torch has been shipped from Greece to Japan
During a recent meeting on March 22, IOC members discussed and proposed various scenarios to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic such as postponing when the disease is fully controlled, postponing the 2020 Olympic Games to summer 2021, or adjourning the time for the organization to 2022.
On March 23, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games “would be unavoidable” if the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes the non-safety for organization. This is the first time the Japanese Prime Minister has mentioned the possibility that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games cannot take place as scheduled on July 24 in the context that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread strongly around the world. However, whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed will be decided in April depending on the disease situation.