The Olympic Games are looking to a 2021 event in Japan due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Australian Olympic Committee has told its athletes to prepare for the Olympics to take place in 2021, while Canada will withdraw if the Games take place this year.
“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 said in a statement.
“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.
“The AOC held an Executive Board meeting via teleconference this morning and unanimously agreed that an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad.”
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that postponing may become an option if holding the event in its ‘‘complete form’’ became impossible.
The IOC will hold detailed discussions which will include possibly changing the July 24 start date due to the global coronavirus pandemic, but emphasised that a cancellation of the Games would not solve any of the problems or help anybody.
“Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda,” the IOC said in a statement, adding that the discussions would be completed within the next four weeks.
In a letter to athletes, IOC president Thomas Bach said: “As successful athletes, you know that we should never give up, even if the chance to succeed appears to be very small. Our commitment to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is based on this experience.”
PM Scott Morrison has already declared Australian Olympians will not be allowed to travel to Tokyo in July under the government’s current restrictions.