Blood, sweat… and fears? Contact sport athletes could face more restrictions
Australian Olympic officials will await the latest COVID Olympic playbook in June before deciding whether to increase restrictions on its athletes, including the ability to limit interactions between contact and team sport competitors and the rest of the athlete’s body.
Local officials welcomed the release of the latest version of the Game Manual, which is a blueprint for athletes on how they should conduct themselves at the Games and the measures put in place to protect their health and well-being.
Athletes will be tested daily, limited to specific competition, training and accommodation areas, wear a mask even when on medals, test twice negative within 96 hours of flight to Tokyo , then show a pre-valid card with a “written promise” to abide by the rules, the card also outlining the athletes’ destinations during the Games.
But teams can still add their own restrictions on top of those stipulated by the organizers, with the possibility of biosecurity bubbles within the biosecurity bubbles which could see Australian athletes eating their own pre-packaged food instead of the dining room and having their interactions with other nations. capped.
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has already imagined a scenario where there are 100 COVID-positive athletes circulating in the village at any one time, so it’s no surprise that they are planning extra layers of protection for competitors.
But should athletes be protected from members of their own Olympic team? Individual sports like archery, swimming or track and field require little or no contact with other competitors, while team sports like basketball or hockey can place athletes directly in the firing zone for transmission.
Not to mention the obvious COVID hotspot sports like wrestling, rugby sevens and boxing, where competitors trade sweat and even blood in a standard fight. It is a higher risk environment, but Australian Head of Mission Ian Chesterman will postpone any calls for further measures and consult with individual sports along the way.
“My desire is to allow sports to decide what they think is best,” Chesterman said. “Part of our philosophy in running this team is to allow sports to run themselves the way they want to be run. They know their athletes best.