As the Olympic Torch reached Japan, thousands flocked the streets to see the legendary moment despite Japan imposing lockdown protocols. The torch signals the beginning of the Olympic games. However, Japan and the IOC have been facing increased criticism over their decision to push ahead with the games from athletes and countries similarly.
Now, the games face an added obstacle as Canada has threatened to pull their athletes if the Games go ahead as scheduled on 24th July. Canada has joined a huge number of countries – including Norway, Brazil, and Slovenia that have threatened to pull their athletes off the rooster if the games go ahead as planned. However, Canada seems to be the first heavy-hitter threat that might force the IOC and the Japanese authorities into submission.
In a joint statement from the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee, they quote, ”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.”
Fearing a domino effect, the IOC quoted a statement that they would consider postponing the event, however, canceling the event cannot solve any issues for anybody. “The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, the Japanese authorities, and the Tokyo metropolitan government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement,” their statement reads. While no official statement has adhered, a final decision is expected to drop within the next upcoming weeks.