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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Masks 'a must to have' at medal ceremonies, says IOC spokesman

The statement comes after swimmers were seen taking the item off on the podium and hugging other competitors – a violation of the Games’ COVID-19 rules.

July 25, 2021 / 11:15 AM IST
Tokyo Olympics 2020: From left Jay Litherland (USA), Chase Kalisz (USA) and Brendon Smith (AUS) with their medals during the medal ceremony for the men's 400m individual medley during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. (Image: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Network)

Tokyo Olympics 2020: From left Jay Litherland (USA), Chase Kalisz (USA) and Brendon Smith (AUS) with their medals during the medal ceremony for the men's 400m individual medley during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. (Image: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Network)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 24 has stated that masks “are a must have” during medal ceremonies at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. It said masks are mandatory across venues – inside and outside – for athletes, staff and media.

The statement comes after swimmers were seen taking the item off on the podium and hugging other competitors – a violation of the Games’ COVID-19 rules.

"It's not a nice to have. It's a must to have," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said while responding to questions about the mask-less swimmers.

He added that there is no relaxation and asked everyone to “obey the rules”. “It's important for the sports, for everyone involved and for our Japanese friends and it would send a strong message,” Adams said.

The incident in question saw gold medallist American swimmer Chase Kalisz take off his mask on the winners' podium after the men's 400 metres medley, and hug fellow American and silver medallist Jay Literland, (also mask-less). Bronze winner Australian Brendon Smith also removed his mask.

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This was followed by 12 female athletes, from the US, Canada and Australia, competing in the women’s 4x100 freestyle relay ceremony who hugged teammates and were mask-less on the podium.

Adams commiserated with the athletes’ excitement but added, “We understand ... there's a lot of excitement and of course when you win a medal, we feel for the athletes. There are things that unfortunately we have had to make stricter. It is really in our own interest, in the interest of everyone and in the interest of safe and secure Games that we obey these rules."

Notably, Olympics organisers reported 10 new Olympics-related COVID-19 cases today, bringing the disclosed total to 132.

(With inputs from Reuters)
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jul 25, 2021 11:15 am

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