“Any assertions that a decision by the Australian Olympic Committee to tell its athletes to plan for a Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 was done in concert with either the International Olympic Committee or the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) are completely incorrect,” the AOC said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
The AOC said its decision followed a sequence of events, which included the IOC’s announcement that the global body was conducting “scenario planning” for Tokyo, with postponement among the options.
The IOC’s announcement came a day after Australian authorities announced a slew of measures aimed at containing the coronavirus, including travel curbs and quarantine requirements at national and state borders.
“This meant our athletes could not continue their training programs,” the AOC said.
The effect of the government measures and the IOC’s scenario planning prompted a special meeting of the AOC’s executive board last Monday.
“The effect of these measures as outlined, informed the Executive’s conclusion that an Australian Olympic Team could not depart our shores for a Games at any time within the next six months, at least,” the AOC added.
“The AOC Executive considered it in the best interests of the health and safety of our athletes that they return to their homes and families as soon as possible, particularly as border closures were progressively being introduced.
“At no point were either the IOC or COC aware of, or involved in, this process.”
The IOC last Tuesday postponed the Olympics for a year after also coming under pressure from athletes, whose preparations had been disrupted.