Australia, Canada pull out of Olympic games

The games are scheduled to be held in July in Tokyo

Olympic rings in Tokyo, Japan
Olympic rings in Tokyo, Japan
(Igor Belyayev\TASS via Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 23, 2020 - 7:53am

Canada and Australia have announced that they won’t send athletes to the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo as a result of the coronavirus – putting increasing pressure on the International Olympic Committee to postpone or cancel the games. 

Olympic athletes and countries around the world have increasingly expressed concerns about participating in the games, largely about contracting the virus in such a large gathering and because the shutdowns related to the pandemic have impacted their training. 

Canada and Australia are the first two countries to withdraw from the games, scheduled to start in late July.

“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,” the Canadian Olympic Committee said. 

Australian officials said they have “unanimously agreed that an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad.” 

The IOC will reportedly take several more weeks to make a decision on whether to postpone the games and is not considering cancelling them.