Justin Trudeau weighs in on postponement questions surrounding Tokyo Olympics

Amid growing questions and concerns around the Tokyo 2020 Olympics moving forward in the backdrop of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it's all dependent "on the situation in Japan and around the world."

Canada's prime minister congratulates Japanese counterpart on intent to still hold the Games

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus in Ottawa, Thursday, March 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Amid growing questions and concerns around the Tokyo 2020 Olympics moving forward in the backdrop of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it's all dependent "on the situation in Japan and around the world."

During his daily press briefing, Trudeau was asked specifically if he believes Canadian athletes should go to the Olympics if they are not called off.

"I think that's an important question that many athletes and coaches and family members are asking themselves," Trudeau told reporters outside of his official residence.

"I have heard directly from Prime Minister Abe that he is intent on continuing to hold these Olympics. I congratulate him for that decision."

Earlier Friday a white aircraft painted with the phrase "Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay" carried the Olympic flame from Greece to Japan as part of the ongoing torch relay. The tail section of the plane had "Hope Lights Our Way" painted along the side.

A small group of Tokyo 2020 organizing committee officials welcomed the aircraft, with two of Japan's well-known Olympians there to receive the Olympic flame for the lighting ceremony.

The IOC has been unwavering in its messaging, continuing to reiterate that they are moving ahead with plans as scheduled and preparing for July 24th start.

WATCH | Canadian track athletes speak out on possible postponement:

Canadian track and field stars on potential postponement of Tokyo 2020

2 years ago
Duration 2:29
Coming soon, CBC Sports' Anson Henry hosts a panel discussion with some of Canada's best track and field athletes and the head coach about potential postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

On Wednesday the IOC had a conference call with more than 200 athlete-representatives from around the world, trying to bring calm.

"It was constructive in a way that everybody realized that we have still more than four months to go and we will address this action," said IOC president Thomas Bach. "We said we were going to continue to be very realistic in our analysis."

Bach said the IOC will continue to push toward Tokyo while "safeguarding the health of the athletes and contributing to the containment of the virus."

Trudeau says Canadian athletes and the Canadian Olympic Committee will "be making its decision as we get a little closer."

Canadian Olympic Committee moves forward with plans

Earlier this week Canadian Olympic Committee President Tricia Smith sent out an open letter to all athletes, saying they "support this move by the IOC—we all hope and are continuing to plan for the Olympics to proceed in July—but our hope needs to be put in context."

In the letter Smith assured Canadian athletes the COC Is taking all steps to protect the health of everyone and are working to contain the spread of the virus.

WATCH | Wickenheiser calls out IOC's 'insensitive and irresponsible' approach:

Wickenheiser calls IOC 'insensitive and irresponsible'

2 years ago
Duration 2:38
Hockey great Hayley Wickenheiser joins numerous prominent athletes who say the IOC's plan to continue Tokyo 2020 preparations as planned is reckless.

"Lives are at risk on a global basis, and there is an unprecedented level of worry and anxiety in our communities. Sport, understandably and appropriately, ranks low in terms of these priorities and we have seen many sport leagues and circuits suspend operations during this crisis without any clear sense of when normal operations will resume," Smith wrote.

The COC is reiterating it understands the uncertainty that exists for all athletes in the wake of COVID-19 right now.

Smith writes the COC is basing all decisions on the information provided by the IOC, World Health Organization and health experts.

"We do not know what will happen in the next 24 hours, no less the next four months, and that is the reason there need not be a definitive decision today about any changes to the plans to hold the Olympic Games," she wrote.

"The health and safety of the world community, which of course includes our athletes, will always be paramount."


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