Athletes to comply with strict rules and guidelines at Tokyo Olympics

From the opening ceremony to enjoying life on Tokyo Bay, the postponed 2020 Olympics have been like no other. To adhere to the Tokyo Olympics, stringent rules and guidelines will have to be followed, and the players may have to get vaccinated and undergo rapid testing. All the efforts invested to conduct the games in the middle of a pandemic that is responsible for more than 1 million deaths worldwide.

Instead of getting to know global neighbours, Olympic athletes will be encouraged to leave Japan a day or two after they’ve finished competing and won’t have the luxury of even getting acquainted with other players once the event is completed. No late-night parties or early morning events shall be permitted in the town. Athletes shall also be discouraged from sightseeing, and the Tokyo Olympics shall be strictly business in light of the danger lurking in the form of the virus.


“Staying longer in the village increases the potential for problems,” John Coates, the IOC member in charge of overseeing Tokyo preparations, said on Wednesday at a briefing for the Olympics and Paralympics. Coates accompanied International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to Tokyo this week as he met Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and gather support from key Japanese sponsors. Organizers and the IOC are growing confident they will be equipped with a vaccine and rapid testing. This will help, but dozens of other countermeasures shall also be set up; social distancing, masks and bubbles in the venues and the Athletes Village. Coates said the opening ceremony would be restricted to only athletes and a maximum of six team officials.

In the past, dozens of officials — at times 50, Coates said — were allowed to march, filling in for athletes who may have skipped in order to compete the next day.

Bach and Coates have both said they want to have fans from abroad, which has yet to be confirmed. Bach said he expected a “reasonable number” of fans in the venues. But the number and countries from where fans shall be allowed to visit remain unclear. “We hope we can give the opportunity to as many people as possible, including foreign spectators,” Coates said.

“We want the families of the athletes who come from overseas to have an opportunity to see their children. That’s what the Olympics is about, and I hope it’s possible,” he further stated.

Japan has controlled the virus reasonably well with about 1,900 deaths attributed to COVID-19. But almost 500 new cases were reported Wednesday in Tokyo, and more than 2,000 around Japan — both one-day records. The challenge lies in managing the events while ensuring that no wrong step fosters spread of the virus.