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No hugging and no singing - Games officials told of new Olympic rules

Sportsbeat
·2-min read
The first in a series of 'playbooks' designed by make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics more Covid-secure have been released by the IOC and Games organisers
The first in a series of 'playbooks' designed by make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics more Covid-secure have been released by the IOC and Games organisers

By James Toney

Olympic and Paralympic champions may get to hear their national anthem at this summer's Games - but they could be banned from singing the words.

Officials have been told not to hug, shake hands, high-five or sing as organisers gave a first glimpse of new regulations designed to make Tokyo 2020 'Covid-secure'.

The International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee have released the first in a series of 'playbooks' for stakeholders, including athletes, officials and media.

And it's certainly clear these will be a Games like no other.

Athletes and team officials will receive their manual, which is expected to go through several revisions in the build-up to the opening ceremony, next Tuesday.

It will cover everything from testing to quarantine rules and where they can travel within the city, with public transport banned.

But the thousands of officials required to run the Games have already been told to minimise their physical interactions - and to encourage athletes by clapping and not singing or chanting.

Though whether these rules will apply to fans remains to be seen.

"At this stage we cannot say what the rule for spectators will be, we'd hope the spectators behave according to the context we are facing at that point in time," said Pierre Ducrey, the IOC's Olympic Games operations director.

"Every body needs to act responsibly and we'll ask the spectators to respect a number of rules but at this point in time we've not looked into it."

Premier League stars have been encouraged - with limited success - to moderate their goal celebrations.

And teams will find out next week whether the same rules will apply to those contesting the Games as officiating it, though it's understood these 'general principles' will be followed by all.

Officials arriving in Tokyo will be expected to take a Covid test before leaving their country and on arrival in Japan, while athletes will also be tested every four days.

Currently Japan's borders are closed to all international travellers and while stopping short of imposing a quarantine, the IOC's new guide hints at 'additional requirements for the first 14 days in country'.

Athletes already know they will be expected to spend a minimum amount of time in the athletes’ village, with partying and sightseeing banned when their competitions are over.

It is also clear the IOC want all athletes inside the protected bubble of the Village.

In the past many of the Games biggest names, such as NBA basketball stars, tennis players and golfers have elected to stay in five-star hotel accommodation, rather than the more primitive - and less private - village.

"The Olympic Village is the best place for all athletes to be, to be able to operate in safe conditions," added Ducrey.