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Canada, Tricia Smith put world on notice with Olympic decision

Last Updated Mar 27, 2020 at 8:01 am MDT

Canadian Olympic Committee President Tricia Smith speaks to reporters. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

TORONTO (660 NEWS) — Earlier this week, athletes from coast to coast lauded the decision of the Canadian Olympic Committee to pull out of a 2020 Olympics in Japan — the first country to do so.

READ MORE: Canadian athletes react to postponement of Tokyo Olympics

The leadership, led by president Tricia Smith, decided with so many uncertainties around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would not put Canadians at risk.

“It was a very difficult decision,” Smith said on a Tuesday media call. “It was made domestically. We had to make this decision for the safety of our athletes and to contribute our part to controlling this virus.”

Less than 24 hours later, the International Olympic Committee decided to postpone the Tokyo Games to 2021.

“I do think [our decision] is a factor and one of the many factors that had to be taken into account when further decisions were being made,” Smith added. “We provided additional information to the IOC on how exactly this was affected our athletes, how exactly we came to the determination that it was not safe to continue in this present situation and that we had to make this decision.

“I think the information we provided to them likely would’ve helped in the decision.”

RELATED: Tokyo Olympics: Looking for a new date for opening, closing

As four-time Olympian and silver medal winner in 1984, Smith understands the history and importance of the Games but admitted some things are bigger than sport.

“The Olympic Games are an extraordinary event, and there’s no question about it,” she said. “Therein lies the magic of them. Certainly, this pandemic has caused us all to step back and really think about what’s important in the world.

“Having said that, sport plays such a significant role in bringing the world together like nothing else can. It’s got that power. I think when we are able to get together in Tokyo to celebrate these Games, I think it will be with an added significance of what we’ve achieved because it won’t happen until it’s safe to do so. It’ll be a demonstration of what we can achieve when we work together, and the world cares for one another.”