Athletes have been warned to stop hugging each other on the Olympic podium as such celebrations breach strict Covid rules laid out in the Tokyo 2020 regole.
All 12 swimmers from the Australia, Canada and US 4x100m relay medal-winning teams hugged each other after Sunday’s final, as did 400m individual medley champion Chase Kalisz and his US compatriot Jay Literland.
In a strong-worded intervention, the the International Olympic Committee warned athletes to stay on their own podium step and to keep a distance from their fellow medallists. “We would urge and ask everyone to obey the rules, whatever stakeholder you are,” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said. “It is not a nice to have, it is a must have, both for the sports and for everyone involved.
“It sends a strong message so please follow the playbooks. We understand there is excitement and we feel for the athletes but unfortunately we have had to make the rules stricter. These messages are constantly passed, not just to athletes. It is in our interests and the interests of everyone.”
However on Sunday, the IOC did relax its mask-wearing policy slightly so athletes are allowed to remove them for 30 seconds for podium photographs. “The new policy allows for a socially-distanced photo opportunity for a maximum of 30 seconds on the podium,” the IOC confirmed.
Nel frattempo, bad weather and heat continues to be a theme in the early days of these Olympics. On Sunday the rowing was cancelled for a second day due to the threat of tropical storm Nepartak, which has formed off Japan’s east coast and could hit Tokyo late Monday or Tuesday.
In a statement World Rowing said both Monday and Tuesday’s schedule had been cancelled due to the threat of adverse weather “which would bring high winds and strong gusts creating unequal and potentially unrowable racing conditions.” With many venues experiencing extreme temperatures over 100f (37.7f) on Sunday, organisers have insisted they will take action if it becomes too hot.
Mikako Kotani, of the Tokyo Organising Committee, disse: “We are working together with all the IFs. They have a lot of experience, so they were the ones who had the final say. The organising committee has developed its own heat counter-measures. It could involve ice, or water or breaks and cool down.
“And if it’s really hot, we will take heat breaks. Anche, we monitor the weather forecast very closely so we make sure that we can respond immediately to any changes in the weather.”