No cheering, no bars, less intimacy: The strict rules being set for Tokyo Games

Publish Date
Thursday, 4 February 2021, 8:06AM
Photosport

Photosport

No cheering, no bars and less intimacy are just a few of the ground rules being set out for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Tokyo organisers and the IOC have begun explaining just how they hope to host the Tokyo Games amid the Covid-19 pandemic, rolling out a guide as the first of their so-called 'Playbooks' to educate all visitors.

The details pointed clearly to the limits that athletes, games volunteers, media and fans — if any are allowed in the venues — will also face in similar documents to be published and updated in the months ahead.

No cheering, no bars and less intimacy are just a few of the ground rules being set out for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Tokyo organisers and the IOC have begun explaining just how they hope to host the Tokyo Games amid the Covid-19 pandemic, rolling out a guide as the first of their so-called 'Playbooks' to educate all visitors.

The details pointed clearly to the limits that athletes, games volunteers, media and fans — if any are allowed in the venues — will also face in similar documents to be published and updated in the months ahead.

In a session with Olympic athletes earlier this week, the IOC explained the stringent guidelines.

"At this moment in time, no scientist can predict the health situation in 206 national Olympic committees at the time of the Olympics," IOC President Thomas Bach told the athletes, adding the IOC was learning day-to-day and asked for the athletes' patience.

Games operation director Pierre Ducrey explained the general procedure for entering Japan. Both Dubi and Ducrey called the Playbooks a "framework."

"In the playbook we are documenting what will be the typical journey for a stakeholder group starting with measures 14 days prior to departure," Ducrey said.

"Including a test before you leave your county, a test upon the time you enter the country, and testing for each stakeholder group while they are in Japan."

Dubi did not confirm whether fans from abroad would be allowed at the Games.

"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 the also the question of spectators from outside," Dubi said.

The rollout of the Playbooks is also an attempt to convince the Japanese public that the Olympics should go ahead. Polls across Japan showed up to 80 per cent want the Olympics postponed or cancelled.

It also comes just two weeks after a British newspaper, citing an unnamed Japanese government official, said the Olympics would be cancelled. The IOC and Japanese organisers have pushed back and the Playbooks offer some concrete plans after months of vague talk.

Olympic officials have documented thousands of sports events that have taken place in the last 10 months — some with fans, some without — and they believe they can do the same on an Olympic scale at dozens of venues spread across a Tokyo metropolitan area of about 35 million.

"Sports events are taking place, athletes are training and competing, but we know that we are facing a huge challenge — that is to create a bubble for all athletes," Lucia Montanerella, head of IOC media operations, told a panel discussion a week ago. "One thing is to create a bubble for 200 athletes, and a very different thing is to created a bubble for thousands of athletes of different sports."

The IOC and the Japanese government will not require "participants" to be vaccinated to enter the country and will hold the Games as if no vaccine were available and rely on social distancing, masks and testing.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission