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27 minutes ago, Quaker2001 said:

Curious this comes out shortly after Bach comes out and says he's confident they'll happen on time.

Does Tokyo really want to stay in bed with the IOC for that long?  If that happens, it'll have been nearly 20 years!  How much more will that cost Japan to stage the 2032 Olympics, especially with facilities that will all be a lot older, and who knows what they'll be able to do about the athletes village.

I want to remain optimistic we'll have an Olympics this summer and the IOC being the IOC, I wonder how much they'll hold Japan's feet to the fire to hold the games.

They're talking about a Sapporo bid for the winter games, so they might be in bed with the IOC regardless. 

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3 minutes ago, BTHarner said:

They're talking about a Sapporo bid for the winter games, so they might be in bed with the IOC regardless. 

Maybe the solution is the IOC gives them Sapporo without a contest.  But I don't know that changing Tokyo 2020 to Tokyo 2032 is going to work out so well

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On 1/20/2021 at 2:51 AM, ulu said:

The problem is that even if they manage to vaccinate 100% of the Japanese population, the athletes and various workers will still spread the virus among themselves and take various viral strains back to their home countries. 

1 hour ago, Quaker2001 said:

Maybe the solution is the IOC gives them Sapporo without a contest.  But I don't know that changing Tokyo 2020 to Tokyo 2032 is going to work out so well

I just don't see how they can keep temporary venues and facilities dormant for 20 years. Do they rent out the Olympic village and then kick the thousands of residents out for the 2032 games? Do they leave the buildings empty for that long? Or will they sell off the condos and build a second Olympic village for 2032?

At this point they should simply cut their losses. I wonder if the Japanese government has been caught in a sunk cost fallacy, feeling they have to continue the games somehow just to justify the money they have already spent.

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3 hours ago, Nacre said:

I just don't see how they can keep temporary venues and facilities dormant for 20 years. Do they rent out the Olympic village and then kick the thousands of residents out for the 2032 games? Do they leave the buildings empty for that long? Or will they sell off the condos and build a second Olympic village for 2032?

At this point they should simply cut their losses. I wonder if the Japanese government has been caught in a sunk cost fallacy, feeling they have to continue the games somehow just to justify the money they have already spent.

They said they didn't have a Plan B last time.  Then came up with a Plan B very quickly.  No idea what they would do if they decide they can't hold the Games this summer.  But if that decision has to be made, it won't be made for at least until the spring.  There was no way they could have gone ahead with the Olympics last year.  But now, sports teams and leagues are managing to operate.  Obviously the Olympics is an event like nothing else, but to say it's not possible.. way too early for that kind of declaration.

You say they should cut their losses, but this isn't the best example of a sunk cost fallacy.  Cancelling now means all the money they have spent, including this extra year due to the postponement went for nothing.  They only get to reap the rewards when the event goes on.  Might not be so helpful to the Japanese government if they have to hold the event without spectators, but the IOC and all the sports federations would be in bad shape if they didn't get their influx of cash because the Olympics didn't go on.  That Japan is pushing forward isn't simply to justify what they've spent, but to see a return on their investment which right now they don't really have.

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Japan denies report it plans Tokyo Olympics cancellation

Japan stood firm on Friday on its commitment to host the Tokyo Olympics this year and denied reports of a possible cancellation but the pledge looks unlikely to ease public concern about holding the event during a global pandemic.

Though much of Japan is under a state of emergency due to a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Tokyo Olympic organisers have vowed to press ahead with the re-scheduled Games, which are due to open on July 23 after being postponed for a year because of the coronavirus.

A government spokesman said there was "no truth" to a report in the Times newspaper that the government had privately concluded the Games would have to be cancelled because of the virus.

The Times, citing an unidentified senior member of the ruling coalition, said the government's focus was now on securing the Games for Tokyo in the next available year, 2032.

"We will clearly deny the report," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai told a news conference.

The governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, said there had been no talk of cancelling or delaying the Olympics and a protest should be lodged over the Times report.

The Games organising committee also denied the report, saying in a statement its partners including the government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were "fully focused" on hosting the games as scheduled.

"It is very disappointing to see that the Times is developing such a tabloid-like story with an untrustworthy source," a source from the organising committee told Reuters.

"The national government is fully committed to delivering a safe and secure Games, and we are always encouraged by their dedications," the source said.

The Australian and U.S. Olympic Committees said they were preparing for the Games as planned.

"Unfortunately, I need to address unfounded rumours that the Tokyo Olympic Games will be cancelled, rumours that only create more anxiety for athletes," Matt Carroll, the chief executive of the Australian committee, told reporters in Sydney.

"The Tokyo Games are on. The flame will be lit on July 23, 2021."

The Australian committee is run by the IOC's pointman for the Tokyo Games, John Coates.

The U.S. and Canadian committees wrote on Twitter they had not received any information suggesting the Games would not happen as planned.

Japan has been hit less severely by the pandemic than many other advanced economies but a recent surge in cases has forced it to close its borders to non-resident foreigners and declare a state of emergency in the Tokyo and other cities.

Tokyo reported new daily coronavirus cases of more than 1,000 for nine straight days through Thursday and set a single-day record of more than 2,400 infections earlier this month. The death toll from the respiratory disease stands at nearly 4,900 people in Japan.

There are public fears that an influx of athletes will spread the virus. About 80% of people in Japan do not want the Games to be held this summer, recent opinion polls show.

In an interview ahead of Friday's report, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said he was cautiously hopeful that successful COVID-19 vaccine campaigns could help ensure the safe staging of the world's largest sporting event.

The Olympic Games represents a major milestone for Japan and its premier, Yoshihide Suga, who has said the event would bring "hope and courage" to the world. Suga reiterated on Friday the Games would go ahead as planned.

IOC President Thomas Bach reaffirmed his commitment to holding the Games this year in an interview with Kyodo News on Thursday.

"We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo," Bach said.

Date:January 22,2021

News source:Nikkei Asia

Link to this article:https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Japan-denies-report-it-plans-Tokyo-Olympics-cancellation

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13 hours ago, Quaker2001 said:

You say they should cut their losses, but this isn't the best example of a sunk cost fallacy.  Cancelling now means all the money they have spent, including this extra year due to the postponement went for nothing.  They only get to reap the rewards when the event goes on.  Might not be so helpful to the Japanese government if they have to hold the event without spectators, but the IOC and all the sports federations would be in bad shape if they didn't get their influx of cash because the Olympics didn't go on.  That Japan is pushing forward isn't simply to justify what they've spent, but to see a return on their investment which right now they don't really have.

The event itself usually barely breaks even in developed countries. But that's with stadiums and arenas full of fans when people can afford to buy expensive tickets, and companies are flush with cash for advertising. With stadiums one third of capacity with only Japanese fans, they will probably lose even more money by going forward with the games.

That the IOC is desperate for the Olympics to go forward so they can get their cut of the broadcasting cash is certainly true. And I wonder if they will sue the Japanese government for damages if Tokyo bails on them.

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So, in this instance, it was a case of somebody saying something to somebody who put out a story without doing any research and then press agencies around globe spread the story without doing any research. Modern day journalism, you gotta love it.

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36 minutes ago, BTHarner said:

So, in this instance, it was a case of somebody saying something to somebody who put out a story without doing any research and then press agencies around globe spread the story without doing any research. Modern day journalism, you gotta love it.

I'm so irritated at the number of people I've seen on social media saying "I hear it was cancelled."  Yea, no kidding you heard that, because crappy information travels way too quick.

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I would have to wonder if perhaps athletes participation would be limited to countries who have gotten to the point where their athletes have been vaccinated and those countries willing to pay for their athletes to travel to Tokyo weeks before the Games to complete a mandatory 2 week quarantine.  Once in Japan I would think the athletes would be as isolated as possible for the duration of their competition.  But as has been stated by a few here, I have to believe that all parties involved are going to put maximum effort into developing a plan to stage the Games this year in some way shape or form.  The broadcast money is too lucrative and I realistically can't see Tokyo wanting to delay any further, let alone wait until 2032.

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IOC 'not considering' coronavirus vaccine as it pushes ahead with Tokyo Olympics planning

By Tracey Holmes for The Ticket and ABC Sport

Posted 28 January 2021

Credit:  ABC News Australia
 
One of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) most senior officials says the Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead even if athletes cannot be vaccinated beforehand.

IOC's head of media operations Lucia Montanarella is heavily involved in planning all the operational aspects of the Games with her counterparts from the Tokyo Organising Committee.

She briefed around 280 journalists from the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) on Wednesday morning (AEDT) and was asked whether strict reporting conditions at the Games would be relaxed if athletes, journalists and officials had been vaccinated beforehand.

"The reality is that we made a decision with Tokyo 2020 that we will go ahead and plan these Games without taking into consideration the vaccine and this is what we are doing," Ms Montanarella said.

"At this moment the vaccine doesn't come into play in any of our planning and that's the way we are going ahead.

"We would need another crystal ball to tell you something different but for the moment this is what we are doing — we are not considering the vaccine at all."

Tokyo's contingency plans are referred to as 'Project Crystal' because — according to Ms Montanarella — when the Games were postponed last March the IOC "needed a crystal ball to try and understand how the world will be in 15 months time".

With under six months to go the situation is still no clearer.

"One thing I want to tell you is that from the 24th of March [2020], the day of postponement, within the IOC there has never been a moment that we've been looking at the Tokyo Games as if it will happen, it's always been how we will make it happen," Ms Montanarella said.

"As (IOC) President Thomas Bach keeps saying, 'there is no plan B'."

Speaking from Switzerland on Wednesday evening (local time) Mr Bach reaffirmed that the Games would go ahead.

"The International Olympic Committee is fully concentrated and committed to the successful organisation of the Tokyo summer Olympics this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic," Mr Bach said.

Japan has not yet approved a vaccine inside the host nation, although plans are being drawn up to roll out a vaccination program once the go-ahead is given.

There is no confirmation that all 206 nations expected to send a team to Tokyo will have access to a vaccine and those that have are unlikely to add Olympic athletes to prioritised groups such as the elderly and health care workers.

There has been widespread condemnation any time it has been suggested.

Vaccination not 'obligatory' for athletes

Mr Bach has encouraged all member nations to engage with their own government authorities in the next few weeks to determine the likelihood of vaccinations for athletes and officials but it would not be mandatory in order to take part in the Games, which begin on July 23.

"Vaccination priority should be given to vulnerable groups, nurses, medical doctors and everyone who is keeping our societies safe," Mr Bach said.

"We encourage all the Olympic and Paralympic participants who are offered vaccination to accept it, also as an act of solidarity with the Japanese hosts and their fellow participants."

But Mr Bach added: "Vaccination will not be obligatory."

Federal Sport Minister Richard Colbeck said the Government would speak with the Australian Olympic Committee about the vaccine rollout, but vulnerable groups would be given priority ahead of athletes.

"The rollout of the national COVID-19 vaccine roadmap is an important measure to protect lives and livelihoods," he said in a statement. 

"The roadmap prioritises vulnerable groups including older Australians, frontline workers and those with underlying medical conditions. Other segments of Australia's population will be able to access the vaccine following these vulnerable groups.

"The Government will be consulting with the representatives of the Australian Olympic Committee and national sports bodies on the rollout of the vaccine over coming months and understand their needs in the lead-up to the Olympics."

According to the IOC, a 'tool box' of other COVID-19 countermeasures has been developed, including immigration procedures, quarantine measures, testing, personal protective equipment and contact tracing, as well as vaccination where possible.

The IOC and Tokyo organisers have been watching closely as other events have been staged around the world with the use of COVID-19 bubbles, reduced crowds and limited media access.

Ms Montanarella said there were some good lessons that have been learned but the operational nature of the Olympic Games was a much bigger challenge than any one single sporting event.

"While we are doing everything we can to have the widest media coverage we can at this Games, there will be some restrictions and some of them will be frustrating and there will be days when maybe people will not be able to go where they want," she said.

"The only thing I can say is that Tokyo 2020 and IOC media operations are really trying to do our best to allow for the widest number of people, the widest number of accreditations but … be prepared, it's going to be challenging.

"I don't want it to be a negative message, I want it to be a message conveying that despite all of our work it is not easy to deliver a safe environment if we don't stick with the numbers we have."

The Tokyo Olympic Games will be unlike any held previously, with the exception of the early editions in 1896 and 1900, with limited competitors, few spectators and reduced media coverage.

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‘Not losing our time’: IOC insists Olympic Games will go ahead in Tokyo

Credit:  The Age newspaper

By Latika Bourke  January 28, 2021 — 5.21am

London: The President of the International Olympic Committee insists the already-postponed Tokyo Games will go ahead in July.

But he could not guarantee there would be spectators and denied that pushing ahead with the tournament as the world faces lethal third-waves of the coronavirus pandemic was “irresponsible”.

Speaking to the media after a 4½-hour executive board meeting IOC President Thomas Bach said the body had committed to the Games going ahead.

He said speculation the event would be cancelled or postponed again as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage much of the world was hurting the athletes and was not helpful.

“We are not losing our time and energy on the speculations but we are fully concentrating on the opening ceremony on the 23rd of July this year,” he said.

“We are not speculating on whether the Games are taking place, we are working on how the Games will take place.

“We are working on the basis of having all athletes there, in Tokyo, for all events,” he said.

Bach said the Games would require COVID countermeasures for every scenario but said it was too soon to specify what they would be and pleaded for patience.

He said discussions were ongoing and included the World Health Organisation and the makers of vaccines.

Much of Japan is under a state of emergency and hundreds of countries have imposed strict travel bans grinding international travel to a near halt. Recent polls suggest up to 80 per cent of the Japanese population want the Games cancelled or delayed because they fear the event will drive up infections.

Bach said it was not possible to move the Games to another city and said proceeding with them was “clearly not irresponsible.”

“Our task is to organise Olympic Games and not to cancel Olympic Games and our task is to make the dreams of Olympic athletes to come true.”

“If we would think it would be irresponsible and if we would think that the Games could not be safe, we would not go for it. Okay. Principle number one: safe organisation,” he said.

As speculation has raged about the future of the Tokyo Games, so too has debate about whether athletes should be fast-tracked for vaccinations.

While some countries, including Israel which is leading the race to inoculate its population, say their sportsmen and women will be vaccinated in time, others with slower or delayed rollouts are pondering the question.

Australian swimmer and two-time gold medallist Cate Campbell has said athletes should be prioritised if it saves the Games from cancellation.

Asked if athletes should be prioritised for vaccinations, Bach said: “We are not in favour of athletes jumping the queue.” He said it was a question for each government and their Olympic Committees.

The Tokyo Games were to have been held last year, but were delayed for the first time in Olympic history as the pandemic unfolded.

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Sports world holds its breath for Tokyo’s Olympic COVID ‘playbook’

Credit: Brisbane Times
By Phil Lutton January 30, 2021 — 11.00pm

After postponements and endless uncertainty about how the Olympic Games in Tokyo will play out, next week will bring some long-awaited detail from the hosts and organisers.

It will arrive on February 5 in the form of an official “playbook” from the International Olympic Committee, which will for the first time shed clear light on exactly how the IOC and their Japanese hosts plan to ensure a safe and successful Games for about 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

The IOC needs the playbook to be well received as it tries to convince the world the Games can be salvaged. Earlier this month, it had to hose down reports the Japanese government was already resigned to cancelling the Olympics and had been workshopping various exit strategies, one of which was to try to claim the 2032 spot, which south-east Queensland remains favourite to snare.

Sceptics still believe the Games simply can’t be held in the current COVID-19 environment and both Tokyo organisers and the IOC are planning for an event where vaccines are not in play, although the more athletes are given access to doses before the July 23 opening the better.

The flow-on effects of a triumphant staging — or a costly cancellation — are immense, from the athletes wondering if five years of work are about to vanish into thin air to potential hosts more than a decade down the track.

Who pays the price?

Already, these summer Games are forecast to be among the most expensive in history, with delays blowing out an already bloated budget that sits close to $20 billion. That figure is likely to be conservative and any cancellation would be an immense blow to the coffers of the IOC, which relies heavily (75 per cent of revenue) on broadcast deals to fund its operations.

But the brunt of the Games will be carried by the Japanese taxpayer, says Matt Nichol, a Melbourne-based sports law academic with a particular interest in Japan. Those taxpayers aren’t likely to get a return on investment even if a slimline Games limps into life.

“In terms of real skin in the game, it’s not the IOC or broadcasters of sponsors or athletes, it’s the Japanese citizen. The total cost at the end of last year was about $US12.5 billion. And that money has been spent,” Nichol says.

“You get sold on the economic benefit of a Games, the legacy of the infrastructure and the exposure and the tourism. And however these Games are going to play out, they just aren’t going to get that usual return.

“However you break it down, the city of Tokyo and Greater Tokyo, they are going to wear the costs.”

How have the key Olympic sports coped?

Rohan Taylor is the head coach of the nation’s highest-profile Olympic sport and is as eager as anyone to see what kind of specifics the IOC playbook contains. His swimmers have become accustomed to upheaval, he says, but some real, tangible organisational scaffolding ahead of Tokyo would come as a blessing.

“Human nature doesn’t like uncertainty. We don’t respond well to that and there is a constant, swirling uncertainty around these Olympics. For us, we have to try and maintain the plans to get a group of athletes, coaches and staff and to get to Tokyo and perform at their best,” Taylor says.

“Those are the things that really guide us to ensure we prepare our team correctly. We have to be able to move into that space [in Japan] and be compliant but also we want some of that certainty. We’ll talk about the types of scenarios that may emerge and we feel like we can cope with anything now ... we’ve dealt with a lot already.

“But once we get some information from the IOC, that will definitely settle the nerves a bit.”

What of Australia’s bid for the 2032 Olympics?

Australia remains one of the favourites to host the Games of 2032, with the south-east Queensland bid having support from every level of government and progressing faster than many observers may have realised.

Brisbane’s lord mayor, Adrian Schrinner, confessed to a shortness of breath when he heard reports that Japan may withdraw and ask the IOC to in turn award them the 2032 Games. With that quickly dismissed, he says 2021 is a key year for Queensland’s bid as discussions with the IOC gain pace.

“It’s very exciting. All three levels of government are on board and working feverishly. There was a lull for a period last year where there wasn’t so much talk about the Olympics, but that didn’t mean things weren’t continuing behind the scenes. Now, it’s just a matter of getting down to targeted discussions and hopefully make it a reality,” Schrinner says.

“That is something that could happen any time now. I think 2021 will be the critical year for this … I really do think that. It may not be that a decision is made this year but ... a decision could be made at any stage from now on, essentially.”

The new bidding process has ended the days of costly presentations and years of greasing wheels in the hope of a final vote. Now, Schrinner says, there is a “constant dialogue” with the IOC that has progressed to a point where certain guarantees, like the ability to present a carbon-neutral Games, are being sought.

More than anything, an Australian Games looks like an extremely safe bet for an IOC that would love to have its next three Games locked in after the drama of Tokyo. That, Schrinner says, is a major selling point.

“That’s the case we’re putting forward to the IOC … we are a capable, safe set of hands to host an event of this magnitude.”

What do the athletes need to know before Tokyo?

According to Cate Campbell, Australia’s star freestyle sprinter and multiple Olympic gold medallist, not as much as you’d think. It’s not exactly “shut up and swim” but Campbell has become content to stay at arm’s length from the speculation and ensure she is ready to fire once the Games eventually begin.

“Ian Chesterman (Australia’s Chef de Mission) has been very good with communicating and making things really transparent but also, how much do athletes really need to know? An athlete’s job is to turn up and perform their best on the day. The organisers have the job to provide an environment where that can happen,” Campbell says.

“As long as those two parties are doing everything they can to get the best result, then I don’t need to know the ins and outs of plans A to Z. All I need to do is train and if there is important information, that will filter down to me.

“I just need to know what are the changes and how it affects my training and racing. And you can plan from there. Until then, it’s enough to know the Olympics are actually going ahead.”

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An Olympics with no cheering: IOC reveals first COVID playbook

Credit: Sydney Morning Herald - by Phil Lutton, February 3, 2021 — 9.48pm

 

Tokyo organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have provided the first glimpse of how the Tokyo Games will function during a pandemic, releasing a series of guidelines in a COVID “playbook” while promising a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games in the northern hemisphere summer.

But the pages of the first book are light on detail, with the IOC and local organising committee painting with a deliberate broad brush as they try to convince sceptics that the world’s biggest multi-sport event, already postponed once, can avoid being a super-spreader event as tens of thousands of athletes, officials and media travel to Japan.

Even so, it’s a significant document which outlines a timeline that begins 14 days before travelling to Tokyo, arrival in the city, the experience during the Games and subsequent departure. More details will be released in updated playbooks as the July Games draw closer, each targeting different groups of attendees.

The first playbook is aimed at delegates of international sporting federations, judges and technical officials and includes pre-departure testing, use of a smartphone app for contact tracing, testing on arrival, testing during the stay and constant use of face masks.

It also says anyone in venues should only clap athletes, not cheer or shout, to avoid any extra possibility of spreading virus particles. It will, if nothing else, be the most polite Olympics yet held.

Specific advice for athletes has yet to be released, while Games operation director Pierre Ducrey told a press briefing that the first document and subsequent playbooks would be nimble and could change depending on the COVID environment closer to the Games.

He said the Games were running on the assumption a vaccine was not in play but any athletes or stakeholders who were able to be vaccinated as per their country’s stipulated timeline would be of significant benefit.

“For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require flexibility and understanding,” Ducrey said. “We are providing the main directions at this stage but naturally don’t have all the final details yet.

“We will make sure all the information needed is shared as quickly as possible to ensure we are fully prepared to protect all those coming to and residing in Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Games.”

Tokyo officials would not speculate what would happen if accredited participants violated the rules but said there would be a ‘procudere in place’ for those caught out. Ducrey said all stakeholders would have to be responsible for their own plans and ensure they followed the most recent rules.

Given the contents of the first playbook, it stands to be a solitary Games. Participants are told to avoid social interaction whenever possible and to stay clear of public transport, using only official Games transport.

Many answers are yet to be provided but those targeted in the first playbook must plan early and have a negative test certificate and present a detailed activity plan for their first 14 days in Tokyo. The negative test must be taken within 72 hours of departure.

They will also have to use an app to monitor and detail their health for 14 days before travel and prepare a list of anyone who they will be in close contact with during their stay in Japan.

Accredited participants must take a COVID test on arrival in Japan and be prepared to move quickly through the aiport en route to their accommodation. Details for athletes remain cloudy but they are likely to be required to remain in the village during their stay and arrive no more than five days before competition.

There would be regular tests during the stay for accredited participants and anyone with symptoms would be expected to test and isolate immediately. The IOC did confirm that athletes would not require to quarantine before arrival but instead record a detailed health log and present a series of negative tests.

More information for athletes will be forthcoming over the next week, which will come as a huge relief for sports and teams attempting to plan their lead-up to a Games that will be regarded a minor miracle if it is staged without an outbreak.

The issue for Australian attendees may not be going to Tokyo but returning home, with two-week hotel quarantine compulsory at this stage.

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Can you maybe stop posting the same article in multiple threads?

Anyway, I've seen a report that the Japanese medical association already indicated that during the pandemic (and no, that will not be miraculously over by July), there is really not much room for Japanese doctors to be available for any medical matters at the Olympics.

So good luck IOC. You can pretend as much as you want, but that virus will not care.

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FIRST PLAYBOOK PUBLISHED OUTLINING MEASURES TO DELIVER SAFE AND SUCCESSFUL OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020

Credit:  International Olympic Committee website

03 FEB 2021

THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC), THE INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE (IPC) AND THE TOKYO 2020 ORGANISING COMMITTEE (TOKYO 2020) TODAY PUBLISHED THE FIRST PLAYBOOK, A RESOURCE WHICH OUTLINES THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES KEY STAKEHOLDERS MUST TAKE TO PLAY THEIR ROLE IN ENSURING SAFE AND SUCCESSFUL OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC GAMES THIS SUMMER.

The series of Playbooks provide a framework of basic principles that each key stakeholder group will follow before they travel to Japan, when entering Japan, during their time at the Games and when leaving the Games. They will provide direction and set parameters that will enable people and organisations to advance their planning at this stage. A preview of the Playbook for athletes was already given in a call with the Global Network of Athletes’ Commissions on Monday.

The first of this series of Playbooks is, for logistical reasons, aimed at International Federations and Technical Officials. Playbooks for the athletes, media and broadcasters will be published in the coming days. Accompanying the publication of each Playbook will be a series of briefings from the IOC, IPC and Tokyo 2020 with the stakeholders in question.

These Playbooks are the official, centralised source of information for the Olympic and Paralympic Games stakeholders, and the first versions will be updated with more detail over the coming months, as the global situation relating to COVID-19 becomes clearer ahead of the Games. 

The Playbooks are the basis of our game plan to ensure that all Olympic and Paralympic Games participants and the people of Japan stay safe and healthy this summer. They have been developed jointly by Tokyo 2020, the  IOC and the IPC. They are based on the extensive work of the All Partners Task Force, which also includes the World Health Organization, the Government of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, independent experts and organisations from across the world, and the interim report published by the Three-Party Council in December 2020.  In addition, they also draw upon the lessons learned from the successful measures being implemented in other sectors, including the successful resumption of thousands of international sports events across the world. Each stakeholder group will have to follow specific guidelines tailored to their individual operational needs. However, in this first edition, stakeholders will find many of the standard and commonly accepted key health countermeasures currently being implemented around the globe relating to personal hygiene, testing and tracing.

The Playbooks also outline a typical journey for each stakeholder group, beginning with measures starting 14 days before arriving in Japan, testing before departure and upon arrival in the country, and the use of smartphone applications to report health and support contact tracing during Games time. Measures will also be in place to identify, isolate and treat any potential positive cases.

In the Athletes and Team Officials Playbook, for example, this stakeholder group will learn more about their time in the Olympic and Paralympic Village. There they will be subjected to strict control measures to ensure their safety. This will include limiting the amount of time athletes and support staff stay in the Village, restrictions on socialising outside the Village, their movement between official Games venues, and a COVID-19 screening system that will see athletes and support staff screened during the Games.

The measures outlined in the first version of the Playbooks will be gradually built on over the coming weeks, as and when circumstances change and subsequent decisions are made. Information will continue to be shared and updates to the Playbooks are expected by April and June, providing more details that will allow people to progress to the next stage of planning.

Speaking about the publication of the Playbooks, IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said: “The health and safety of everyone at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 are our top priority. We each have our part to play. That’s why these Playbooks have been created – with the rules that will make each and every one of us a sound, safe and active contributor to the Games. We know these Olympic Games will be different in a number of ways. For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require flexibility and understanding. We are providing the main directions at this stage, but naturally don’t have all the final details yet; an update will be published in the spring and may change as necessary even closer to the Games. We will make sure all the information needed is shared as quickly as possible to ensure we are fully prepared to protect all those coming to and residing in Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Games.” He continued: “By committing to following the Playbooks we will be stronger together. In return, the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be remembered as a historic moment for humanity, the Olympic Movement and all those contributing to their success.”

Craig Spence, the IPC’s Chief Brand and Communications Officer, said: “To ensure safe and successful Games this summer, every single stakeholder involved in, or attending the Games has a key role to play. Central to this are the Playbooks that form an integral part of a new and robust masterplan developed over the last 12 months to protect every Games stakeholder and, importantly, the people of Japan during Tokyo 2020.

“Since March 2020’s postponement we know much more about COVID-19, while the thousands of international sports events that have taken place safely over the last year have given us valuable learning experiences. Combining this new knowledge with existing know-how has enabled us to develop these Playbooks, which will be updated with greater detail ahead of the Games.”

Tokyo 2020 Games Delivery Officer Nakamura Hidemasa commented: “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the daily lives of people around the world, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games need to adapt accordingly. Safety and security have become everyone’s top priority, and this summer's Games will be no different. Accordingly, Tokyo 2020, the IOC and the IPC have jointly published individual Playbooks for each stakeholder outlining the rules that need to be followed by all Games participants. The Playbooks were created from the perspective of the participants themselves, based on the interim summary that was published at the Coordination Meeting for COVID-19 Countermeasures last December. They include not only the specific measures that need to be taken, but also details of the rules that need to be observed and the appointment of a single person to oversee COVID-19 countermeasures in each stakeholder group to ensure effectiveness. The purpose of this first edition is to communicate ‘what we know at this time’ to a large number of people in an easy-to-understand manner. The Playbooks will be updated to the second edition this spring as the situation changes.

“Through careful communication we would like to ensure that everyone involved in the Games around the world is aware of our plans. We hope thereby to assure them that, if each and every one of them follows the rules when participating in the Games, they can be held in a safe and secure manner. We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we would like to express our gratitude to the medical professionals, essential workers and everyone else who is working hard to ensure this. In the meantime we will continue our preparations for ensuring a safe and secure Games in the spirit of ‘Safety will be the number one priority of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The first published Playbook for International Federations can be viewed and downloaded on olympic.organd via the IPC and Tokyo 2020 websites. Upcoming stakeholder Playbooks will be published after the respective stakeholder briefings. 

Playbook Briefing Dates

International Federations - 5 February

Broadcasters - 8 February

Athletes and Team Officials (via National Olympic Committees) - 9 February

Press - 10 February

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Olympics: Russia's doping ban for Tokyo Games finalized

Credit:  KYODO NEWS 

11:37    3 February 2021

GENEVA - Russia’s ban from the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games was finalized Tuesday after neither the World Anti-Doping Agency nor Russian authorities appealed a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport barring the country from international competition until December 2022.

WADA handed Russia a four-year ban in 2019 after implicating the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in a large-scale, sophisticated doping scheme, but the Swiss-based CAS cut the suspension to two years following an application by RUSADA, which sought the overturning of the ban.

The ruling prevents Russian teams from competing at the Tokyo Games and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics, while also prohibiting the use of the country's flag and anthem. But Russian athletes with no history of doping violations may still participate as neutral competitors.

In a statement, WADA said it was disappointed the CAS panel "decided not to impose all the consequences that WADA sought," including the full four-year period.

WADA said it chose not to appeal the CAS decision to the Swiss Federal Tribunal after "unanimous advice from in-house and external legal counsels" indicated it would serve "no useful purpose."

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Faster, higher, stronger? Nations weigh letting athletes jump the vaccine queue for Tokyo Games

Credit:  France24

01/02/2021 - 22:57

With organisers vowing that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will go ahead this summer despite the ongoing global pandemic that delayed the event by a year, some nations – like Hungary, Serbia and Israel – are moving ahead with inoculating their would-be Olympians to ensure they are free to train, qualify, travel and compete. But some – including elite athletes – question whether fast-tracking young, healthy sportspeople for vaccinations should be a priority and whether it fits with Olympic values.

With vaccine delays creating hurdles in the global race for Covid-19immunity, wealthy countries are competing to secure more shots, less affluent ones are running behind and the finish line remains a speck in the distance.

But amid the fray, a growing handful of nations are controversially prioritising one cohort of young vaccination candidates that are, quite naturally, paragons of fitness: Olympic athletes, with the Tokyo Games just six months away.

On Friday, Hungary began vaccinating athletes who stand to qualify for the next two Olympic Games: Tokyo this summer – delayed a year by the pandemic and now slated to run from July 23 to August 8 – and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, just six months later.

The Hungarian Olympic Committee said 868 athletes had been selected to receive the Moderna vaccine to facilitate their preparations in the run-up to the Games, with the order of priority among athletes decided by their respective training camps and qualification tournaments.

 Vaccinations for Olympic athletes are couched as a safety matter, but in a world of motley inoculation strategies they may also come to represent a sporting advantage for nations that can spare doses for their Olympic squads.

The Hungarian Olympic Committee was clear that two factors decided the matter for Hungary: The “safe participation in qualifiers in foreign countries" and "the loss of form due to several months' worth of skipped training due to an infection".

That decision put would-be Olympians in Hungary's immunisation queue after healthcare professionals but alongside the elderly – and ahead of the general population.

Serbia also began administering doses to its athletes on Friday, with the Balkan country's Sports Ministry and Olympic Committee saying the jabs "should not be compulsory but it is desirable so as to ensure the safety and health of athletes as well as of the general population".

 The head of Italy's Olympic Committee, for his part, has come down against prioritising athletes for Covid-19 immunity.

"We already know there are many countries where national athletes are about to be vaccinated," Giovanni Malago told La Repubblica newspaper. "We will never ask for this and we don't want it, either. An elderly person has a sacred right to be vaccinated before a 20-year-old athlete is."

Greece's Olympic Committee wants its athletes inoculated, although after healthcare workers and the elderly. A spokesman told Reuters that the committee "will continue to put pressure on the Greek government in order to have all the athletes vaccinated".

In some countries the queue is comparatively short, putting athletes at a certain advantage even without a boost from their Olympic committees – but other nations have yet to administer a single dose of vaccine.

Denmark has said that it will vaccinate all 150 athletes and 200 officials in its delegation, but the country also forecasts it will have inoculated its entire population by July 1.

Meanwhile in Israel, which leads the world in Covid-19 vaccinations administered per capita, half of the delegation headed to Tokyo has already been vaccinated. Israel's Olympic Committee said the process would be completed by the end of May, two months before the opening ceremonies in Japan.

 Seoul is waiting for Tokyo's formal decision to go ahead with the Games to make a decision for the 157 athletes so far set to compete for South Korea. "Of course the athletes should be given the vaccine if they are going to participate," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told Reuters.

The International Olympic Committee, for its part, has said it isn't pushing for special favours for athletes.

"We always made it clear we are not in favour of athletes jumping the queue," IOC chief Thomas Bach said last week during a virtual news conference. He said "the high-risk groups, the healthcare workers and the people who keep our society alive" must be "the first priority and this is a principle we have established".

"The reality is that it's up to each government to decide about vaccination and access to vaccination," Bach said. "That's why we've asked [National Olympic Committees] to get in touch with their respective government."

The world needs a win

While athletes training for the Games say they are struggling to put the uncertainty surrounding the event out of mind, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga last week reaffirmed his commitment to holding the Olympics and Paralympics this summer. "I am determined to achieve the games as a proof of human victory against the pandemic, a symbol of global solidarity, and to give hope and courage around the world," he told a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum on Friday.

Suga's compatriots have appeared decidedly less keen in recent surveys, in large part over concerns about the attendant influx of foreign athletes, Reuters has reported. A poll by Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper last week showed 86 percent of respondents wanted the Games postponed or cancelled.

Games organisers have yet to settle the question of whether or not to allow spectators into venues. Tokyo and its neighbouring prefectures are currently under a state of emergency to stem the spread of Covid-19, and Japan has yet to announce the start of its own vaccination campaign.

IOC member Richard Pound, the longest-serving member of the Lausanne-based committee, stirred controversy in his native Canada last month when he suggested athletes should be given priority to allow the Games to go ahead and make for "a wonderful success in the face of a worldwide pandemic". Pound estimated that about 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries are likely to take part in the summer Games. Canada, for one, sent 314 athletes to the 2016 Olympics in Rio along with 204 coaches and support staff.

 "You're talking about, on average [per nation], 50 vaccinations, which would be a rounding error in almost every country in the world," Pound told The Canadian Press

"So my guess is the authorities and the population in each country would say, like, 'Yeah, if we can find some way to pull off these Games it would be a nice triumph in the face of what's been a [long] slog'."

"Clearly health workers come first and the really vulnerable would be a close second”, Pound said. "Then, you start triaging how you would use remaining dosages... For the very, very small numbers involved and the very symbolic meaning of a successful Games in this context, my guess – and it's only a guess – would be that most countries would be very much in favour of it."

But some Canadian athletes themselves have questioned the message that getting vaccinated early would send.

"I want to represent Canada in Tokyo," Olympic wrestling gold-medallist Erica Wiebe tweeted last month. "I want to continue to inspire the next generation of young boys and girls. But I need my community to be safe first and that means a measured risk-based vaccination plan."

Canadian Olympic racewalker Evan Dunfee worried that athletes taking priority "would sour public opinion and just turn the community against us", he told Reuters. "I think we'd come home from those Games and really be limited in our ability to use the power of sport to lift people up, to inspire and to be role models."

But some athletes have wondered aloud how it can be otherwise.

"One mustn't forget that, at the Games, 10,000 athletes will find themselves in a limited space, will talk, will eat together in the canteen," French hammer-thrower Quentin Bigot told AFP. "I don't see how an event like the Olympic Games can be held normally if the athletes aren't vaccinated," he said.

Still, France's Olympic committee has reportedly tempered its line on vaccinating athletes headed to Tokyo on the urging of the athletes themselves.

Committee chief Denis Masseglia initially expressed support for allowing France's Olympic competitors to jump the queue, noting that athletes had already been granted special dispensations to train and compete.

But French fencer Astrid Guyart, a member of the country’s Olympic athletes' committee, indicated the group discussed their concerns with Masseglia and saw a change of heart.

"For me, it poses an ethical problem. As an athlete, I don't have the feeling that I am a person who is vulnerable and so I don't have the impression we should take priority, because that is the question being posed," Guyart told AFP.

"It's out of the question that athletes should be given priority over other categories of population, but between now and the Games we can assume that it is possible to have them vaccinated without penalising other people," Masseglia said last week.

Still, he stressed that conditions at the Olympics would be "extremely difficult" for athletes who take part without the vaccine, citing long quarantines and frequent virus screening.

Cardiac concerns

With an average age of about 27 and uncommon fitness levels by definition, Olympians would normally be ranked as low-risk and correspondingly scheduled fairly late on the world's inoculation calendars. But the Belgian Olympic Committee's chief physician has flagged a medical rationale for giving Olympic athletes a leg up on vaccinations.

 Dr. Johan Bellemans, himself a former Olympic sailor for Belgium, has conceded that "we don't want our athletes to be at a competitive disadvantage" while other nations are giving theirs a literal shot in the arm. But he told Belgium's Sporza sports network that the medical argument for protecting the athletes is more important.

 "We have many athletes who got infected in the second wave. Our infection rate is now 22 percent among the Olympians, substantially higher than in the normal population," he said, noting the risks engendered by the athletes' heavy travel schedules.

 “The second medical argument is that publications from a few months ago show that an abnormality of the heart muscle could be observed in 60 percent of the young and active population, three to six months after the infection," he said. "We have athletes who have been very ill with cardiac implications. That will also happen in normal people, but when you exercise intensively with that sort of inflammation of the heart muscle, it becomes very dangerous. So we want to protect our athletes," Bellemans told Sporza.

 Team Belgium has requested 400 to 500 vaccinations for athletes and support staff, asking that Olympians be considered among the "essential professions" primed for inoculation after healthcare workers and high-risk groups.

Australian Olympic gold-medal swimmer Cate Campbell, who sits on the athletes' commission of Australia's Olympic Committee, has said she supports those headed to Tokyo "getting some sort of priority" access, being vaccinated in the country's second or third wave, if it is declared a prerequisite for competing.

"It's a tough one. I think athletes have sacrificed a lot to represent Australia ... I think we can appreciate how much sport brings to Australia. It's part of our culture and our identity," the swimmer told the Sydney Morning Herald.

 "Frontline healthcare workers obviously have to be at the front of the queue because they are exposed to this all the time. So I'm not saying we go in front of anyone like that or the high-risk or elderly," Campbell said. "But if we require the vaccine to do our job, I'd hope that would be made available before the Games. Working from home isn't an option."

"So my guess is the authorities and the population in each country would say, like, 'Yeah, if we can find some way to pull off these Games it would be a nice triumph in the face of what's been a [long] slog'."

"We have many athletes who got infected in the second wave. Our infection rate is now 22 percent among the Olympians, substantially higher than in the normal population," he said, noting the risks engendered by the athletes' heavy travel schedules.

“The second medical argument is that publications from a few months ago show that an abnormality of the heart muscle could be observed in 60 percent of the young and active population, three to six months after the infection," he said. "We have athletes who have been very ill with cardiac implications. That will also happen in normal people, but when you exercise intensively with that sort of inflammation of the heart muscle, it becomes very dangerous. So we want to protect our athletes," Bellemans told Sporza.

Team Belgium has requested 400 to 500 vaccinations for athletes and support staff, asking that Olympians be considered among the "essential professions" primed for inoculation after healthcare workers and high-risk groups.

 

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic organising committee to hold meeting over Mori comments as volunteers withdraw help

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organising Committee is set to convene a special board meeting as early as Friday after the outcry over committee president Yoshiro Mori’s sexist comments, public broadcaster NHK reported on Tuesday.

There are no plans to discuss Mori’s resignation at the meeting but he could face a barrage of criticism over his comments, Nikkan Sports said in a separate report.

Mori has come under fire for saying last week that meetings with female participants take a long time, adding that they “get competitive” with each other. He apologised and retracted his comments, but the public’s outrage appears far from assuaged.

Following Mori’s remarks, about 440 Games volunteers have quit and local organisers have received more than 5,500 complaints, according to local media.

“We are taking this very seriously,” said Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto on Tuesday morning when asked about the resignation of the volunteers.

Daichi Oyama, 28, who withdrew from volunteering because of coronavirus concerns, said of Mori that “if every time he says something things get worse, he should quit....”

“It wasn’t just Japanese news, all the world heard what he said and there’s opposition being raised. It’s a very embarrassing thing for Japan,” he said.

But some 80,000 people are signed up to help the Summer Games, and many others are still staying on.

“That was definitely a gaffe, but Mori is old...and I think that people of that age have a tendency to look down on women, it’s a factor of their age,” said Misako Yoshizawa, 70, who teaches English part-time in Saitama prefecture and whose plans to volunteer haven’t changed despite the outcry.

“Mori is Mori, I’m not his volunteer. I’m a volunteer working to carry out the Tokyo Olympics,” she added.

Still, an online petition seeking action against Mori has garnered 140,000 signatures so far, and an editorial published on Tuesday in the daily Mainichi has called on Mori to resign.

“This is not an issue that can be closed with a retraction or an apology” the editorial read.

Sponsors have also distanced themselves. Insurance company Nippon Life Insurance Company told the daily Asahi that they were “disappointed” with the remarks and have made that clear to the organising committee.

Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the influential business lobby Keidanren, initially refrained from commenting but later said: “I feel that that’s what some people are really thinking in Japan” and that “social media is terrifying” given how rapidly comments are shared and spread online.

When asked to clarify what he meant, Nakanishi said it was customary in Japan to differentiate between men and women but that thinking is outdated, according to TV Asahi.

But the comment was trending on social media by Monday morning, with people taking to Twitter express frustrations over Nakanishi’s comments as well.

“He made a sweeping statement about Japan, but I think this is what the chairman himself is thinking. He’s the same as president Mori in his inability to listen to his critics,” said one Twitter user.

Date:Feb. 9,2021

News source:Reuters

Link to this article:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-2020-mori/tokyo-2020-olympic-organising-committee-to-hold-meeting-over-mori-comments-as-volunteers-withdraw-help-idUSKBN2A908N

For reference:https://tokyo2020.org/en/news/tokyo-2020-and-gender-equality

 

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Officials warn athletes there will be ‘no absolute safety net’ for COVID risk

Credit: Sydney Morning Herald

By Phil Lutton  

February 9, 2021 — 7.45pm
 

Australia’s Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman says Tokyo-bound athletes deserve unfailing honesty from administrators ahead of the Games, including the possibility that five years of training could go up in flames if they are caught up in a COVID outbreak.

Chesterman has been spending time with the Australian swimming team on the Gold Coast, who donned masks and took COVID precautions in a full-blown training and racing simulation on Tuesday at Bond University.

That exercise was designed to introduce them to some of the conditions they are likely to face in Tokyo and get them used to the idea of expecting the unexpected at the Games, which will start from July 23 after being postponed by a year.

But little could prepare them for the emotional wrecking ball that would descend if they were forced to sit out their events if they contracted COVID, or were one of the close contacts of another athlete or official that returned a positive test.

While the protocols are yet to be finalised by organisers or the IOC, anyone that does test positive would be removed from the Olympic precinct and isolated, while the first Athlete Playbook said those in contact would have to return negative tests before they could return to competition.

That process could well mean that even athletes who have followed every rule to the letter – but had the misfortune to be in close contact with an athlete that was carrying the virus – could have their Olympic dreams dashed.

Chesterman said he wanted to be crystal clear with athletes, who he believes had earned the right to be involved in full and frank discussions in the wake of the initial postponement. That means every scenario was being put on the table, even if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and local organisers had yet to fill in a large number of blanks around COVID-related specifics for athletes.

“I worked out after the Games were postponed that they deserved the honesty. I’ve not said anything as black and white as that but in my communication to athletes only yesterday, I’ve made sure they see the line in the Playbook that says there’s no absolute safety net,” Chesterman said.

“I’ve ensured they are fully aware of the environment they are going into and the ramifications that might be there.

“And also giving them an absolute commitment that we will do everything we can to make sure they are safe and remain COVID free before the Games, and at the Games. We have faith that the organisers and the IOC will provide a safe environment at the Games as well.”

A revised version of the Athlete Playbook will be updated in April, then again before the Games, as the IOC moves with the latest innovations and protective measures against the virus. Some athletes may be vaccinated but the majority are unlikely to have had access to treatments, so the Games are being planned accordingly.

“Those protocols haven’t been put in place yet but the sports might be in the best place to deal with that. That’s where the Playbook in April will tell us more, we’ll have to wait and see what happens. But we want to make sure everyone is safe when they arrive and they stay safe.

“It’s going to be a totally different environment at the Games, a totally different environment in the Village. But everyone I’ve spoken to says ‘we’re up for it’.”

That was the case among Australia’s best swimmers, who woke on Tuesday to find out coaches had split them into teams and organised an intense relay showdown, just a day after a pouring work into them to ensure they had to race through fatigue.

Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers wasn’t in the water as he continues to mend from shoulder surgery but made it clear he would be in Tokyo regardless of the risks and restrictions.

“Everyone just wants to race at an Olympic Games and I’m going over there to swim a couple of laps of the pool. It doesn’t matter if there are crowds there, it doesn’t matter if you have to wear a mask,” Chalmers said.

“As athletes, we’re told what to do our whole careers so we are very good at understanding situations. We’ll do whatever it takes to get back there and race.”

 
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