This summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo will look much different than what we’re used to. The stands will be empty, only competing athletes will be allowed within Olympic facilities and according to a conference call on Wednesday by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, winning athletes will have to place their own medals around their necks to avoid the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
Key changes to medal ceremonies @Tokyo2020:
➡️Participants with masks at all times
➡️More distancing between gold, silver and bronze
➡️All presenters vaccinated
➡️Athletes take medals from trays carried by presenters
➡️No group photo on gold medal podiumhttps://t.co/KOuHgNoeps
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) July 15, 2021
“The medals will not be given around the neck,” said Bach. “They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself.” He added that the medals will be placed on the tray only by an individual wearing disinfected gloves, ensuring that no one touches the medal before the athlete who is accepting it.
Bach also made it clear there will be no hugging or hand-shaking on the Olympic podiums, either. If athletes want to celebrate, they’ll have to do it on their own. We suggest the classic self-five or pat-on-the-back, and are secretly hoping the IOC will give up the idea of having humans present the medals, and instead replace them with robot dogs (or real-life dogs), which would not only decrease the risk even further, but inject a little fun into what is shaping up to be a somewhat lifeless Games.
Regardless of how the medals are presented or what the athletes can and cannot do to celebrate, anyone who ends up on that podium certainly deserves it, and we will be cheering for our Canadian athletes from the other side of the world.