Bonus prize for an Olympic medal: 30 seconds mask-free

An athlete displays her Olympic gold medal. PHOTO/AFP

What you need to know:

  • Athletes are under orders to wear their masks unless training, competing, eating, drinking or sleeping, and are being tested daily.

Olympic athletes have received an extra incentive for winning a medal after organisers said they could remove their masks for 30 seconds for photos on the podium.

Medal-winners were urged not to abuse the relaxation in the rules at the Tokyo Games, which have been marked by their strict anti-coronavirus measures after opening a year late.

“The idea is to give those athletes who have been competing, when everyone else has stepped back, the chance to remove their mask for 30 seconds, staying on those steps for photos,” International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said yesterday.

“I think everyone appreciates, one, that the risk is very low, and two, completely understandable.”

Athletes are under orders to wear their masks unless training, competing, eating, drinking or sleeping, and are being tested daily.

Athletes warned
When standing on the podium, they are now shown a sign telling them to remove their masks briefly for the photographers.
However, Adams urged athletes not to abuse the rules and to keep their masks in place unless told to take them off.

“We’re making a special effort today to remind all of our groups and all of our people that they need to wear their masks,” he said.

“There’ll be specific discussions and if we find people who’re breaking the rules we’ll talk to them and ask them to abide by them.”

At least 153 people connected with the Games have tested positive. About 85 percent of athletes are vaccinated, IOC said. 

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