Following a postponement last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olympics are now set to begin later this month in Toyko. Despite finally being able to move forward with the Tokyo Games, the Olympics will still look a little different this year.
On Wednesday (July 14), International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach announced that the athletes will not be able to make physical contact with one another, including hugging and handshaking. They will also have to place any medals they win around their own necks.
"The medals will not be given around the neck," Bach explained. "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 the tray will do so only with disinfected gloves so that the athlete can be sure that nobody touched them before."
In addition to competitors and personnel being barred from any form of touching during the ceremony, the International Olympic Committee also announced that there will be no spectators present for the athletic trials. "We have shown this responsibility since the day of the postponement," Bach said. "And we will also show it today, and we will support any measure which is necessary to have a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games for the Japanese people and all the participants."
Though the pandemic continues to affect parts of Japan, as well as other countries participating in the games, the International Olympic Committee reports that more than eighty percent of Olympic Village occupants will be vaccinated by the start of the games.
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