These are not easy days. I’ve been on many calls today, listening to your Athletes’ Commission, your National Sports Organizations, Team Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mike Wilkinson, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee discussing how they wanted to respond to today’s IOC statement and the global pandemic overall. It made me so incredibly proud to be the Chef de Mission of this team.
Together in harmony, the conversation was about making a strong statement; not about what will happen on July 24th, but about what is happening today in our communities, our country and globally. The desire to be role models and leaders in the efforts to flatten the curve and protect the vulnerable was repeated at all levels. The difficult decision was made to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020.
I can imagine this note is in part both crushing and a relief. We’ve been waiting for some real decisions. This is NOT about cancelling the Olympics. The COC’s position to the IOC will reiterate that qualified spots should remain qualified and that we look forward to the updated qualifying process for our remaining team members and that Team Canada is intent on participating. We will send our full team.
What we know about today is that there is no safe way for you to train for the Olympics. What we don’t want to do is put you, your coaches and your families at any risk by trying to be the exception to what is the consistent advice of our national health care professionals. The COC and the CPC are urgently calling on the IOC to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This statement means that for now… stay safe, maintain your social distance, and or self-isolation.
Now is the time to stay home; to keep your body active in a home workout or, if possible, in an isolated open space workout. Talk to your NSOs about further direction for suggestions on staying active.
The IOC has suggested that they would provide postponement options in four weeks. We still look forward to those. The situation we are all in is incredibly fast-moving. We just didn’t feel it was fair or safe to keep you in the dark for so long.
The leadership and compassion from COC President Tricia Smith and David Shoemaker, CEO of the COC has been incredibly inclusive and transparent. Tricia herself was an athlete on the boycotted 1980 Olympics and knows what it’s like to have a Games taken from an athlete. She is steadfast in her efforts for that not to happen again.
There is still a lot to unfold and there will be more answers to come. Please remember we are all in this together as Team Canada, and as a nation. The key is for the Olympics to happen when it is safe and responsible for everyone.
Marnie McBean OC OLY
Chef de Mission Team Canada Tokyo 2020
Nous ne vivons pas une période facile. J’ai participé à plusieurs appels téléphoniques aujourd’hui où j’ai entendu votre Commission des athlètes, vos organismes nationaux de sport, le chef des services médicaux d’Équipe Canada Dr Mike Wilkinson, le Comité olympique canadien (COC) et le Comité paralympique canadien (CPC) discuter de leur réponse à la déclaration du CIO aujourd’hui et à la pandémie mondiale dans son ensemble. Cela m’a rendue incroyablement fière d’être la chef de mission de cette équipe.Continue reading