General News
Major Games

New Team Canada qualification pathways for postponed Tokyo 2020

The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to the summer of 2021 is the biggest sports story of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

But even before that unprecedented decision was made, dozens of events that impacted Olympic qualification had to be cancelled.

With new Games dates settled, international federations have begun updating their qualification systems.

READ: FAQ: Impact of Tokyo 2020 postponement on Olympic qualification, sports schedules 

Read on for more about the changes that will affect sports in which Team Canada is still seeking Olympic qualification. Updates will continue to be made as new information becomes available.

To see all the quota spots Team Canada has earned thus far, check out our qualification tracker. 


The Pan American Championships will take place in Mexico, in March or April 2021. There are three quota places available per gender, but Canada can only earn one.

The Final World Qualification Tournament will take place June 18-21, 2021 in Paris, France. Three teams of three athletes per gender will earn Olympic spots along with one individual of each gender from countries not yet qualified.


World Athletics suspended the qualification period from April 6, 2020 to November 30, 2020. All athletes who had achieved entry standards prior to the suspension will still be eligible to compete at Tokyo 2020.

The qualification period will resume December 1, 2020. Athletes who compete in the marathons and 50km race walk will have until May 31, 2021 to achieve an entry standard or have their results count towards their world ranking. For all other events, the qualification window is open until June 29, 2021.

Athletics Canada is expected to hold Olympic Trials June 24-27, 2021 in Montreal.


The dates have not yet been confirmed, but as was the plan for 2020, there will be an Americas Continental Qualification Tournament and a Final Qualification Event, the latter to be held as planned in Taichung, Chinese Taipei.


While Canada’s National Women’s Team has already qualified, the men will get their chance to join them in Tokyo via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament taking place June 29-July 4, 2021. They’ll have home court advantage in Victoria, B.C. when they play against China, Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, and Uruguay for the one available Olympic berth.

A date and location are still to be determined for the men’s 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in which Canada will compete for a spot in 3×3’s Olympic debut.


The first opportunity for Canadian boxers to qualify will be at the Americas Olympic Qualification Event, to be held in February or March 2021 at a location to be determined.

A World Olympic Qualification Event will follow in May or June 2021, the location to be decided.

Cycling – BMX Freestyle

The UCI Olympic Qualification ranking will now include results from November 1, 2018 to March 3, 2020 plus two World Cup events in 2021 to be determined. The top-ranked NOC per gender will qualify two athletes while NOCs ranked 2-5 will qualify one athlete.

Cycling – BMX Racing

The UCI Olympic Qualification ranking will now include results from September 1, 2018 to March 3, 2020 plus the 2020 UCI BMX World Championships (if held) and two World Cup events in 2021 to be determined.

For each gender, NOCs ranked 1-2 will qualify three athletes, NOCs ranked 3- 5 will qualify two athletes, and NOCs ranked 6-11 will qualify one athlete.

Cycling – Mountain Bike

The UCI Olympic Qualification ranking will now include results from May 28, 2018 to March 3, 2020 plus two World Cup events in 2021 to be determined.

For each gender, NOCs ranked 1-2 will qualify three athletes, NOCs ranked 3-7 will qualify two athletes and NOCs ranked 8-21 will qualify one athlete.


Qualification for the eight teams of three athletes per event will be based on the FIE Official Team Ranking List on April 5, 2021 – which counts competition results from April 3, 2019 to March 8, 2020 as well as events to be determined when international competition resumes.

Those same dates also apply to the FIE Individual Adjusted Official Ranking for NOCs without teams to qualify one athlete per event. A final opportunity comes at Zone Qualifying Events which will be held in the range of April 15-30, 2021.


Qualification will still be based on the Olympic Golf Rankings, with the men’s qualification period now ending on June 21, 2021 and the women’s closing a week later on June 28, 2021. The rankings have been suspended since March 20 and points will begin to be accumulated again when competitions are allowed to resume.


Though updated qualification systems are still to be published, FIG has said it will reschedule the World Cups and continental championships that are part of the qualification process. The international federation has also said it will adjust the qualification systems to match its own technical rules regarding age eligibility. For artistic gymnastics specifically, that is assumed to mean women turning 16 and men turning 18 in 2021 will be eligible for the postponed Games, which they would not have been if the Games took place in 2020.

FIG has also said that the Code of Points for the 2017-20 quadrennial will remain in force until the end of 2021.


The IJF World Ranking List, which counts results dating back to May 25, 2018, will now close on June 28, 2021. The top 18 in each weight class, with a maximum of one athlete per NOC per event, will qualify for Tokyo 2020. Continental representation will also be assured via that World Ranking List


The qualification period for the Olympic Standing was almost closed prior to the postponement of the Games, but the pandemic had also forced the cancellation of events which were to count towards the Olympic Standing. Those will be replaced in 2021 and the Olympic Standing will now close sometime in May 2021, with the top four per weight class (maximum one per NOC per event) qualifying for Tokyo.

An Olympic Qualification Tournament where three athletes per event will qualify for Tokyo 2020 will take place in June 2021.

Modern Pentathlon

There remain two ways for athletes to qualify for Tokyo 2020. At the UIPM World Championships taking place June 7-13, 2021 in Minsk, Belarus, the top three athletes per gender will qualify themselves, unless they have already booked their Olympic berth. In that scenario, the quota would be added to the six to be awarded via the UIPM Olympic World Ranking List which will be published on June 14, 2021.


Canada qualified six boats at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Opportunities remain at the Americas Continental Qualification Regatta and the Final Qualification Regatta, with dates and locations still to be determined.


The Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifier will take place in Mexico at a date to be confirmed. FIFA has maintained in its qualification system that male players must be born on or after January 1, 1997, which means that those who would have turned 23 in 2020 but will be 24 in 2021 will not age out of eligibility for what is essentially an under-23 tournament with exceptions for three overage players per roster.


All athletes who had met entry standards prior to the Games being postponed will remain eligible for selection. FINA has not yet announced when the qualification period will end for those still seeking standards.

Swimming Canada has said that the Olympic Trials will still take place at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre but will now be held April 7-11, 2021.

For open water swimming, the national trials will take place April 17-18, 2021 in the Cayman Islands. That event will determine the Canadian entries for the Olympic qualifier where they will aim to earn their own tickets to Tokyo 2020.


The qualification pathway remains unchanged, but dates still need to be determined for the closure of the ITU Individual and Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification Rankings as well as the ITU Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification Event.

Volleyball – Beach

World champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes have already locked up one spot for Canada. To join them in Tokyo, Canadian teams will have to be ranked in the top 15 of the Olympic Ranking List on June 14, 2021, with results being counted back to September 1, 2018. After that, one last chance remains at the Continental Cup Finals to be held June 21-27, 2021.


Canadian wrestlers earned four Olympic spots at the Pan American Qualifier in mid-March. The last remaining opportunity will be the World Qualification Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria at a date to be determined in April 2021.