Canada’s decision to give up the Olympics in 2020: a desired snowball effect

After Canada on Sunday, countries like Australia, Poland and Norway also made the decision not to compete in the Tokyo Olympics if they were not postponed. Bronze medalist at the London Games in 2012, judoka Antoine Valois-Fortier expressed the wish that the snowball effect continue to make the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hear reason.
The Beauport athlete let out a sigh of relief after learning that the decision of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) to give up its participation in the event of the meeting scheduled for July 24 in Japan. And if the information from Dick Pound, a Canadian member of the IOC, that the Games would be postponed to 2021 proved correct, it would be even better.

“This is the right decision to make, I am really proud of Canada and I hope it will have a snowball effect around the world. I understand that there is a lot of money at stake, but as an athlete, you really need to have quick answers, ”explained Valois-Fortier, who joined in Montreal, where he has been based for several years.

The 30-year-old judoka did not have to undergo voluntary quarantine since the trip he was to make for a competition held in Russia was canceled the day of his departure.

“I avoided the worst, it is a stroke of luck that I never left. And we agree to say that with physical contact, there is no social distancing in judo, it is certain that I would have caught the virus “, said the man whose third Olympic selection is almost guaranteed .

After obtaining bronze in 2012, Valois-Fortier finished seventh at the Rio Games in 2016. Slowed down in the last back and hip injury Olympiad, he was currently at the top of his game. He did not see any problem in delaying the whole thing for a year, if that decision was reached.

“There are no guarantees, but I think I could get back into it.” In an ideal world, I would have preferred that the Games take place this summer, but it is clear that my schedule will be more relaxed in the coming months. My decision as to whether I would continue after the 2020 Games was rather uncertain, but there is no doubt now that I will. ”

Valois-Fortier thought of his European rivals, confined to isolation, who would not have time to get back into shape and to qualify if the Games were maintained. “The IOC must think about the preparation of athletes, like those of the Italian team, for example,” added the athlete of the year in Quebec in 2012 and 2016, currently more concerned with the public health of the population. than sport.

Karen Paquin

Karen Paquin came out of retirement to participate in the Games.

Settled on the other side of the country, Quebec rugby player Karen Paquin was torn apart. If the 32-year-old athlete experienced great personal disappointment, the citizen ranked 100% behind the decision.

“Selfishly speaking, it’s hard. I made an effort big enough to be here, but logically, it was the only thing to do. Athletes are a bit of a promoter of health, it wouldn’t have made sense to go to the Games in the current state of the situation. ”

Paquin had come out of retirement to participate in the Games. The Rio bronze medalist in rugby sevens is still in Victoria, British Columbia, where the Canadian team is centralized. His 14-day quarantine ends on Tuesday.

“Right now, we live it day by day like everyone else, we train individually as we can, we do team meetings by video. I will surely return to Quebec soon to find my spouse and my family. It was already not easy to live a year at a distance, it may be necessary to do another if the Games take place in 2021. As we speak, I am not able to say that I do not ‘would not go to the Games if they were postponed for a year …’, said the one who would have liked the IOC to decide before the COC did.

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