Aussies told to prepare for 2021 Olympics

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has told its athletes to prepare for a Tokyo Olympics in the northern summer of 2021 saying the Games "can't be held in July".

The AOC, in a statement released on Monday, said the priority for its athletes was to look after the health of themselves and those close to them - making this decision inevitable.

With the Olympics due to start on July 24, Australian Team Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said a decision had to be made - and was done so after consulting with athletes involved in 25 sports.

"It's clear the Games can't be held in July," Chesterman said.

"Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them.

"They have also shouldered the burden of concern for their peers around the world. That has been a consistent message to me."

AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said the uncertainty at the moment was central to the decision.

"We have athletes based overseas, training at central locations around Australia as teams and managing their own programs. With travel and other restrictions this becomes an untenable situation,|" said Carroll.

"The IOC had adopted the key principles of putting athlete health first and ensuring it acted in their best interests and the interests of sport. This decision reflects those principles.

"We are now in a position where we can plan with greater certainty."

It comes hours after Canada's Olympic Committee announced Team Canada would not be competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020.