Pressure is mounting on the International Olympic Committee after both Canada and Australia pulled out of this summer’s Games set for Tokyo between July 24 and August 9.
Sport has been amongst so many global industries utterly decimated by the outbreak of COVID-19 and with many nations still coming to terms with the pandemic, it’s naturally put the importance of sport into perspective.
Golf was reinstated to the Olympic programme in 2016 where Justin Rose collected the gold medal but the likelihood of the Englishman defending that title in 2020 must be in serious doubt after the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees announced that their athletes will be staying home this summer and that any potential Games should be postponed until 2021.
A statement read:
“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.”
It didn’t take long for Canada’s stance to gain traction with the Australian Olympic Committee also stating that their athletes should start preparing for a Games in 2021.
The pandemic is an ever-changing beast and given government measures in Australia around trying to slow it down have escalated in recent days, AOC Chief Executive Matt Carroll said his board couldn’t wait for advice from the IOC Committee in coming to a decision.
“We’ve had to make a call now because of the situation here in Australia and other parts of the world,” he said.
“But the IOC is still working through their final decision-making.”
The International Olympic Committee met on Sunday to discuss options for the summer’s proposed Games and have since set a four week deadline to decide the fate of this year’s events.
It’s understood that cancellation is not on the agenda but with major sporting nations like Australia and Canada already making their intentions clear, it looks highly likely that another major sporting event is about to fall off this year’s calendar.
Can we get a mulligan on 2020, please?