Australia pulls out of 2020 Games, planning for 2021

SHOWS:

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (MARCH 23, 2020) (AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION - Broadcasters: NO USE AUSTRALIA Digital: NO ACCESS AUSTRALIA .COM.AU INTERNET SITES / ANY INTERNET SITE OF ANY AUSTRALIA BASED MEDIA ORGANISATIONS OR MOBILE PLATFORMS / AUSTRALIA NVO CLIENTS / SMH.COM .AU / NEWS.COM AU)

1. AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MATT CARROLL, WALKING TO NEWS CONFERENCE

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MATT CARROLL, SAYING:

"The Australian Olympic team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances, both here and abroad. We have to look far, not not only just our athletes and officials but also their families."

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MATT CARROLL, SAYING:

"Combined with the decision with the International Olympic Committee, we've decided to plan towards the hosting of the games in 2021 in Tokyo."

6. WHITE FLASH

7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MATT CARROLL, SAYING:

"I think what's most important, is it gives certainty. It gives certainty to the athletes. It gives certainty to our sports and that's the most important thing. And that's what they needed, because the feedback we received over the weekend, particularly after the new decisions by the government, plus also what's happening around the world, potential outbreaks in Africa and other places, we need to give our athletes that certainty and that's what we've done."

8 WHITE FLASH

9 (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MATT CARROLL, SAYING:

"The overwhelming position was that the athletes wanted to go to the games. But, as I said, equally they were concerned for their fellow athletes around the world. And you might have seen, there's been a statement put out today by the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) and also the Canadians and I believe also Team GB (Great Britain). So, it's affecting the globe."

10. WHITE FLASH

11. CARROLL WALKING AWAY

STORY: The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said on Monday (March 23) it could not assemble a team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus and that it was now planning for the Games to be postponed to 2021.

Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll said its executive board had made its decision without waiting for the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) advice due to changing circumstances with the global pandemic in recent days.

Carroll spoke to reporters after Canada announced it would not send its team to the Olympics and Paralympics in the summer of 2020. He said Australia's decision would give athletes "certainty" and pushed for the Games to be held off until 2021. The AOC said in a statement earlier on Monday that its decision reflected the IOC's "key principles of putting athlete health first and ensuring it acted in their best interests and the interests of sport".

Opposition to holding the Games in July has risen sharply in the past 48 hours, with several major stakeholders such as U.S. Track and Field and UK Athletics, along with several national Olympic committees, calling for a delay because of the pandemic.

More than 13,000 people have died globally since the coronavirus outbreak began.

(Production: Jill Gralow)