The Olympic rings are seen in front of Canada House Monday, March 23, 2020 in Montreal. The Canadian Olympic Committee announced Canadian athletes will not compete at Tokyo 2020 Games due to COVID-19 risks.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The Olympic rings are seen in front of Canada House Monday, March 23, 2020 in Montreal. The Canadian Olympic Committee announced Canadian athletes will not compete at Tokyo 2020 Games due to COVID-19 risks.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canadian IOC member Dick Pound expects Olympic postponement

The Summer Olympics are scheduled to start July 24 with the Paralympics slated to follow on Aug. 25

Veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound of Montreal believes the 2020 Tokyo Games will be postponed.

Pound told The Canadian Press in a phone interview he expects the July 24 start of the Olympics to be pushed back.

“You’re looking at a postponement,” Pound said Monday. “I think that’s out there now.

“We’re all reading the tea leaves and so on, but the Japanese themselves are talking about postponing. A lot of National Olympic Committees and countries are calling for a postponement.”

Canada called for a postponement on Sunday night.

Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees made the right decision in announcing Canadian athletes will not go to this summer’s Olympics or Paralympics if they start on their scheduled dates.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the COC said Sunday night it would hold back its athletes if the Games start as scheduled and called for a postponement until 2021.

“I know this heartbreaking for so many people — athletes, coaches, staff and fans. But this was absolutely the right call and everyone should follow their lead,” Trudeau said in Ottawa.

Trudeau said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is “very much aware of the challenges” with the Tokyo Games attempting to start on time.

READ MORE: Canada refuses to go to Tokyo Games in 2020, asks for one-year postponement

The Summer Olympics are scheduled to start July 24 with the Paralympics slated to follow on Aug. 25.

The head of health and safety for the 2012 London Olympics, now the British Safety Council chair, lauded Canada’s stance and hopes other countries to follow suit.

“It’s absolutely the right call,” Lawrence Waterman said. “The difference between Canada and the IOC is that Canada has recognized delaying the decision is itself causing problems for people.

“Canada has spoken for itself. It hasn’t said ‘you must abandon the games.’ It’s just said we’re not going to participate this year. That is a way of putting respectful gentle pressure on the IOC.

“I’m hoping later this week the IOC makes the right decision and if it does, I think the Canadian position will have been seen to have hastened that and I think that’s in everyone’s interests.”

COC chief executive offer David Shoemaker said the organization took its lead from the Canadian government.

“The turning point was when the Government of Canada put a real emphasis on the importance of flattening the curve and social distancing, and what we realized is the question wasn’t so much could we send a team of athletes, coaches, mission team members, and fans and all the like to Tokyo to compete safely in July of 2020?” Shoemaker said on a conference call with reporters.

“The question was whether it was fair and appropriate to ask our athletes to be training for those Olympics in July today here in Canada, and put themselves, their families and their communities at risk? And the answer to that question was no.”

Canadian sprint star Andre De Grasse said he woke up with mixed emotions after hearing of the COC’s decision.

“It was a bold move. I was very surprised,” De Grasse said in a statement.

“Up until this morning, I’ve been doing the best job I could training on a grass soccer field after our regular training facilities were closed down. I’ve been feeling anxious going about my business of training when so much of the world has been under quarantine. On one hand I need to stay at home with my family and on the other, I need to keep training.

“After some solid results at last year’s world championships, I was really excited about the Games this summer and training had been going really well. At this stage I’m going to have sit down with my coach and re-evaluate my training plans. Right now it’s a waiting game.

Canada’s statement joins a growing chorus of critics around the IOC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Olympic Committee has told its athletes in a statement on its website they should prepare for the Tokyo Games in 2021.

IOC president Thomas Bach said earlier Sunday the global organization is considering options including postponement, and a decision will be made in four weeks.

Cancelling the Games entirely, Bach said, is not being considered.

Russia backed the IOC’s approach of taking time to consider postponing the Tokyo Games and condemned the body’s critics.

The Russian Olympic Committee called for “complete support” of the plan.

“We view as unacceptable any attempts to bring pressure on the organizations in charge responsible of staging the games and to force them to take rash decisions,” the ROC said in a statement.

The IOC and Japan’s organizing committee had consistently said the Games would go ahead as planned.

But Abe changed his tune Sunday, saying a postponement of the Tokyo Games would be unavoidable if the games cannot be held in a complete way because of the coronavirus.

With countless cancellations, only 57 per cent of Olympic qualification spots have been determined.

Since the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, only World Wars have cancelled Games in 1916, 1940 and 1944.

There have been three major boycotts, in 1976 in Montreal, 1980, and 1984.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusTokyo 2020 Summer Olympics

Just Posted

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Suspected Naramata homicide victim identified by police

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

The COVID-19 cases reported over the week of May 30 to June 5. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees second straight week of 17 new COVID-19 cases

Summerland, Keremeos and Princeton all recorded no new cases

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has hired a new FireSmart coordinator. (Black Press file photo)
FireSmart coordinator named for Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Kerry Riess will provide assistance to mitigate potential wildfire hazards

The damages to the downtown park in Keremeos. One of the trees that was uprooted was a memorial tree with a plaque. (Submitted)
Memorial tree in Keremeos park uprooted by vandals

All of the trees in the small park were torn up and the statue was shifted

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a summary of this week’s biggest stories from the Okanagan-Shuswap

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Most Read