Updated Mar 22, 2020 - Sports

Canada and Australia pull out of Tokyo Olympics over coronavirus

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a Tokyo 2020 Olympics banner displayed on the side of a building on March 19, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.

A Tokyo 2020 Olympics banner in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Pressure is building on organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to call off the Games, after officials in Canada and Australia announced Sunday night they would not send athletes to this summer's event.

Why it matters: Canada and Australia are the first teams to announce they won't go to the Games because of COVID-19 risks. Both countries have called for the event to be held in the northern summer of 2021.

The big picture: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday evening the Olympics may have to be postponed if it can't run in "complete form" — the first time he's indicated such a move.

  • The International Olympic Committee confirmed earlier Sunday it's in talks with organizers on issues surrounding the impact of the virus on the Games, "including the scenario of postponement."

Editor's note: This is article has been updated with news of Australia's announcement.

Go deeper