COVID-19: Richmond's Dunfee endorses Canada's decision not to attend Olympics

COC and CPC pleads for Summer Games in Tokyo to be delayed a year

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) decision Sunday not to send teams to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo is fully endorsed by at least one Richmond Olympian.

“I’m proud to be a member of (COC and CPC). Thank you for being global role models,” said race walker Evan Dunfee via his Twitter account.

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“We, the athletes, can now focus on being role models at home. We can safely follow the guidelines without worrying about what will happen come July.”

Dunfee, 29, was fourth in a memorable 50-km race at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio. He captured bronze over the same distance at the 2019 World Championship in Qatar last fall.

The COC and CPC has also urgently called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Games for one year.

“We offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring. 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,” stated the organizations in a joint statement.

“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. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.

The COC and CPC reviewed the letter and news release sent Sunday by the IOC. 

“We are thankful to the IOC for its assurance that it will not be cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games and appreciative that it understands the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement.

We also applaud the IOC for acknowledging that safeguarding the health and wellness of nations and containing the virus must be our paramount concern. We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport.

“The COC and CPC would like to thank our athletes, partners and the Canadian sport community for their patience and for lending us their voices during these unprecedented times. We remain hopeful that the IOC and IPC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games as a part of our collective responsibility to protect our communities and work to contain the spread of the virus.”

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