Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will place the medals around their own necks in the latest measure introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the International Olympic Committee (ICC) has announced.
The Tokyo Olympics begin next Friday, July 23 exactly one year after the Games were initially scheduled to be held before the coronavirus pandemic forced an unprecedented postponement. The rescheduled Games will be staged amid stringent health and safety measures, including widespread restrictions and a ban on foreign visitors.
The “very significant change” to traditional medal ceremonies in the 339 events was revealed on Wednesday by ICC president Thomas Bach.
“The medals will not be given around the neck,” Bach told media on a conference call from Tokyo. “They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself.”
“It will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on tray will do so only with disinfected gloves so that the athlete can be sure that nobody touched them before."
The Olympic approach is different to football in Europe where Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has personally hung medals around the necks of players at competition finals in recent weeks, including most recently at the Euro 2020 final.
Ceferin also shook hands with Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma at the Euro 2020 medal and trophy presentation in London on Sunday. Donnarumma was named player of the tournament and starred in the penalty shootout which clinched the title for Italy against England.
Bach confirmed on Wednesday that in Tokyo “there will be no shake hands and there will be no hugs during the ceremony.”
Olympic medals are typically presented by an IOC member or a leading official in a sport’s governing body.
The IOC had previously said medalists and ceremony officials would have to wear masks.
The Tokyo Olympics opens amid a state of emergency and rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in the Japanese capital.