Athletes who will stay inside the Games Village in Tokyo during the Olympics will have to abstain from parties and sex.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) published first of the four ‘playbooks’ on Wednesday, which will act as a guide for everyone travelling to Tokyo for the postponed Olympics. And among the raft of measures announced in it is a ban on physical contact.
Life inside the Athletes Village is often described as boisterous. American shooter Josh Lakatos described his astonishment to ESPN when he saw members of a 4x100m relay team from a ‘Scandinavian-looking’ country walking out of the house followed by ‘boys from our side’. Swimmer Ryan Lochte projected that 70-75 per cent of Olympians had sex at the London Olympics. For the Rio Games, the IOC reportedly purchased 450,000 condoms which were distributed inside the Village.
In Tokyo, however, life for the athletes will be socially-distanced and simpler. The 11,000-odd athletes were already told that their stay inside the Village will be shorter than usual – they will be allowed inside only five days before their events and will have to leave within two days after their competition is over.
No physical contact
According to the playbook, they will also have to avoid ‘physical contact, including handshakes and hugs’. It adds there must be a distance of two metres when physically interacting with other athletes, and one metre otherwise.
The first playbook is directed at the international sports federations and technical officials. Subsequent versions, for athletes, media and broadcasters will be published in the coming days but the Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi was quoted as saying by the Associated Press that ‘they are all similar’.
No sightseeing or shopping
Athletes will not be allowed to go sightseeing in Tokyo and even shopping inside the airport on arrival. “You must not visit tourist areas, shops, restaurants or bars,” the rulebook states. They will also be barred from using public transport without prior permission and masks will have to be worn at all times except while eating or sleeping.
Most of the measures outlined in the playbook are already being enforced globally. The playbook explains the journey for an Olympics participant starting with measures 14 days prior to departure. It involves monitoring health every day and updating the status on a mobile app, preparing a list of possible close contacts during the stay in Tokyo and undergoing a Covid-19 test before departure. Another test is likely on arrival and athletes are expected to be tested at least every four days. Those who test positive could be ‘isolated in a Government-approved facility’.
No singing, chanting
Those inside the stadiums are expected to cheer for the spectators by clapping, instead of singing and chanting. However, there is still a question mark over whether there would be anyone watching from the stands. Dubi said a decision on spectators will be taken at a later date. “The decision is not made at this point in time but at some point in the course of spring we will have to make this decision regarding the number of spectators – the proportion of spectators in the stadium – and also the question of spectators from outside,” he was quoted as saying by AP.