World Athletics Calls For Postponement, Canada Withdraws: Olympic Update

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In a letter to IOC head Thomas Bach on Sunday, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe requested that the Tokyo Games be delayed. Coe called the July start date “neither feasible nor desirable” as the world continues to the grapple with the spread of COVID-19.  Coe's letter, sent before the IOC held an emergency meeting on Sunday, was the latest push from governing bodies and athletes to postpone the Olympics, set to begin on July 24th. 

After the meeting, the IOC announced that a decision about the fate of the Games would come in four weeks.

“We cannot hold the event at all costs, certainly not at the cost of athlete safety, and a decision on the Olympic Games may become very obvious very quickly,” Coe said.

Later on Sunday, Canada announced they will not send athletes to compete in any sport. 

“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,” a Team Canada Statement said. 

On Saturday, USATF released a letter to the US Olympic Committee requesting the Olympics be postponed. 

“The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety, and appropriately recognize the toll this difficult situation has, and continues to take, on our athletes and their Olympic Games preparations,” USATF President Max Siegel wrote.

USA Swimming has also asked for a postponement. 

In a virtual town hall on Saturday night, 70% of Olympic athletes in attendance agreed with postponing the Games. 

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