ZUMO Performance of the Week: Canadian Athletes & Olympic Committee Force IOC U-Turn On Tokyo 2020

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Team Canada was one of the first countries to turn its back on competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, thus pushing the IOC to make a decision regarding postponement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

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This week’s ZUMO Performance of the Week goes to the Canadian Olympic Committee for putting the pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by announcing they will not send its athletes to the Olympic Games had they gone on as scheduled in July 2020.

Canada sent the ninth largest delegation to the Games in 2016, and from a swimming perspective, had a plethora of medal contenders in individual events and relays.

An Olympics without Canada would not have been fair to those who have worked so hard to achieve that dream. It was a dramatic decision that forced the IOC to quickly make a decision regarding the fate of the Summer Games as it seemed in every intention that the Games would go on as scheduled, despite the fact that many athletes around the world were unable to find adequate training facilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada made this announcement on Sunday night, March 22. And less than 48 hours later, the IOC officially confirmed that the Tokyo Games would be postponed to 2021. A start date has not been specified, as a lot of financial decisions still need to be made. But this takes a lot of the pressure on all of the athletes around the world that can now focus on being healthy and staying inside during this global pandemic, and not have to worry about being in the appropriate shape to try and qualify for the Games in four months.

Had it not been for the Canadian Olympic Committee, or other prominent countries like Australia and the United States, who also voiced their opinions on why it was imperative to postpone the Games, the IOC might not have made the postponement decision so quickly. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison instituted a travel ban to keep Australian citizens in the country for six months, which would have been game over for those Olympic athletes who would not have been able to leave the country until September.

USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey III was also very vocal about wanting the Games to be postponed to ensure the safety for the athletes, after the organization cancelled all USA Swimming sanctioned events for 30 days in the months of March and April, which was many swimmer’s best opportunities to try and qualify for the Olympic Trials.

If it wasn’t for these organizations stepping up and taking a stance against the IOC’s indecision to postpone the Games, then who knows if we would have even been postponed to 2021.

Thank you to the Canadian Olympic Committee for being so bold, and thus earning our ZUMO Performance of the Week.

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