TOKYO (AP) – Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will put their medals around their necks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.
The “very significant change” in traditional medal ceremonies in the 339 events was revealed on Wednesday by the president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach.
“The medals will not be given around the neck,” Bach told international media on a conference call from Tokyo. “They will be presented to the athlete on a platform, and then the athlete will take the medal himself.
“We will make sure that the person who will put the medal on the platform will do it only with disinfected gloves, so that the athlete can be sure that no one has touched them before. “
The Olympic approach is different from football in Europe where UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has personally hung medals around players’ necks in competition finals in recent weeks.
Ceferin also shook hands with Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma during the Euro 2020 medal and trophy presentation in London on Sunday. His stoppage in a penalty shootout saw Italy take the title against England.
Bach confirmed on Wednesday that in Tokyo “there will be no handshakes and there will be no hugs during the ceremony.”
Olympic medals are usually presented by an IOC member or a senior official in a sport’s governing body.
The IOC previously said medalists and ceremony officials should wear masks.
As no paying spectators are allowed to attend most Olympic events, what Bach described as an “immersive sound system” will attempt to create an atmosphere for athletes at stadiums and venues.
Crowd noise recorded at every event in the previous Olympics will be brought into the arena as one of the many ways to support athletes, he said.
Some athletes will be connected after their event via screens to their families, friends and fan clubs at home, while fans will be able to send video clips of up to six seconds which can be displayed next to the playing field.
The Tokyo Olympics open on July 23 amid a state of emergency and a growing number of COVID-19 cases in the city.
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