Unvaccinated American swimmer Michael Andrew goes maskless backstage at Olympics – .

Unvaccinated American swimmer Michael Andrew goes maskless backstage at Olympics – .

TOKYO – Michael Andrew, who has made waves for saying he was not vaccinated against COVID-19, did not wear a mask backstage after swimming his final at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

The 22-year-old American was without a mask when he stopped to speak to reporters in the mixed zone, an area where reporters interview athletes after the events.

Most swimmers wear face covers outside the pool, while media and workers are required to wear face covers at the Tokyo Aquatic Center. But the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said Andrew did not violate COVID-19 protocol as athletes are allowed to remove their masks during interviews in the mixed zone, even though most keep their masks on.

When asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask, Andrew replied, “For me it’s quite difficult to breathe after sacrificing my body in water, so I feel like my health is a little more related to the ability to breathe than to protect what comes out of my mouth. “

Andrew was fifth in the 200-meter individual medley. He was due back on Friday night to swim in the 50 free preliminaries.

“I think it’s good that there are procedures but at the end of the day we’ve all been in quarantine and in the same testing protocol, so there’s a level of security that’s comfortable when we run.” , did he declare.

Tokyo Organizing Committee policy states that after a competition all athletes must wear masks, but masks may be removed during media interviews in the mixed zone.

The USOOC said after talking to Andrew and reviewing the games manual, they determined it didn’t violate the policy.

“Michael received a reminder of the Games policy and established COVID mitigation protocols, and recognized the importance of following all guidelines intended to ensure the safety of athletes and the community,” USOOC said. in a press release.

While there has been a raging debate in the United States over wearing masks, almost everyone on the streets of Tokyo wears face coverings. Cases of coronavirus infection have reached daily records in Tokyo, and the Japanese government has declared the capital and several other regions in a state of emergency during the games.

Andrew was already under surveillance for his decision not to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

“My reason is that, to begin with, it was kind of a last moment, I didn’t want to put anything in my body that I didn’t know how I would potentially react,” Andrew said during a pre-Olympic. training camp in Hawaii this month.

“As an elite level athlete, everything we do is very calculated and understood. For me in the training cycle, especially before practice, I didn’t want to risk a day. There were times when you take a vaccine, you have to deal with a few days off. “

Andrew said he had no plans to get the vaccine in the future.


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