Ottawa athletes disappointed, supportive of Canada's refusal to attend Summer Games
Canada's Erica Wiebe, from Stittsville, Ont., displays her gold medal after defeating Kazakhstan's Guzel Manyurova to win their women's 75kg freestyle wrestling gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Thursday, August 18, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
OTTAWA -- Ottawa’s Olympic athletes support the Canadian Olympic Committee’s decision not to send athletes to the Summer Games in Tokyo, if the games go ahead as scheduled.
Ottawa’s Erica Wiebe won gold at the 2016 games in Brazil, and clinched a spot in the 2020 Summer Games just over a week ago at an event in Ottawa. She, along with Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, will not be heading to the 2020 Olympic Games because of COVID-19.
“When the COC made the announcement, and I read the headline that Canada won’t be sending athletes to the Olympic Games, my heart was broken, but I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Wiebe on Monday.
Wiebe understands the decision, “Canada was a leader in this, we were the first country to officially announce that, and I foresee a number of nations following suit, and it’s a proud day for me to play for Team Canada.”
Eganville’s Melissa Bishop-Nriagu took to Instagram Monday morning to react to the news that Canada wouldn’t attend the games if they were held this year.
“This is far bigger than our dreams right now, this is far bigger than the Olympics. I do stand by the COC and CPC’s decision.”
Segun Makinde is a Sprinter with the 4x100 metre relay team. “We’re all looking forward to representing the maple leaf, and it’s such an honour to do it, and to not be able to do it is what’s tough.”
He says that he’s supportive of the COC and its decision, “but, of course you train for four years for a special moment that only comes around for four years, so at that time, it’s tough to hear.”
Canadian Paralympic Committee CEO Karen O’Neill says that “many of our Athletes have been under incredible stress.”
O’Neill adds that it’s not just the risk to the athletes at the Summer Games that’s the concern, it’s the lead up to the events. Athletes are in their final stages of training for the games right now
“All of the facilities across the country, particularly for high performance training have been closed down,” said O’Neill.
As for Wiebe, she will still go ahead if the Olympics are delayed for a year, “It’s a really tough decision to make, and I think that I’m super proud to have the kind of leaders that we have in Canada in Sport.”