Along with the many, many changes to our lives, the new normal brings in one more. Champions at the Olympics will not be adorned with a medal by a dignitary. Rather, they would have to pick their attained laurels off a tray and wear them themselves.
This decision, of course, comes in an attempt to further curb the risk of either party, the receiver or the presenter, contracting the Covid-19 infection.
“The medals will not be given around the neck,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach confirmed to international media at a virtual roundtable. “They will be presented to the athlete on a tray, and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself.”
“It will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on tray will do so only with disinfected gloves so that the athlete can be sure that nobody touched them before.”
Both parties would also mandatorily have to don a mask.
With the recent state of emergency in the country, the precautions are to be set and followed most diligently. Bach also confirmed that there won’t be contact among athletes during the medal ceremony.
“There will be no shake-hands and there will be no hugs there during the ceremony,” he said.
Despite the rise in the number of cases in the Japanese capital, the International Olympic Committee isn’t considering a last-minute postponement or cancellation. The Games will commence, only, they will look different than any other Olympic Games before owing to the strict COVID protocols in place.
The public support for the tournament can be seen wavering in Japan because of the fear of another surge in infection. However, another significant change to the style of the tournament is that there would be no live audience present. Of the more than 8,000 Olympic-related personnel that have arrived in Japan over the last two weeks, about 85 per cent are vaccinated, according to the IOC. All were subject to a screening regimen, including pre-departure tests and tests upon arrival.