Team Canada pulls out of 2020 Summer Olympics

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Two women take a selfie with the Olympic rings in the background in the Odaiba section of Tokyo, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike spoke Thursday after the World Health Organization labeled the spreading virus a “pandemic,” a decision almost certain to affect the Tokyo Olympics. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

TORONTO (KXAN) — Canada is the first country to announce that its team will not participate in the 2020 Summer Olympics from Tokyo as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Team Canada says it will not send athletes to the Games due to COVID-19 risks across the globe, according to a press release.

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees called the decision “difficult” while also calling to postpone the Games until 2021. The committees say they are offering “full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring.”

The Canadian committees say their focus is on public health as well as the health of their athletes.

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community.”

Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian paralympic committee joint statement

American Olympic leaders are facing difficult decisions involving the upcoming Games, as well. Leaders from U.S. track and field and U.S. swim teams have pushed for a postponement of the Tokyo Games over the last week.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to begin July 24 and run through August 9 in Japan.

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