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The Rules Athletes Will Need To Follow To Participate In The 2021 Olympic Games 

The Olympics are officially going to happen this year on July 23rd in Tokyo, Japan. After the Games were postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many individuals behind-the-scenes have been working hard this past year to make sure these Games happen as safely and efficiently as possible, which means all the athletes will need to abide by a strict set of rules to keep themselves and others safe. 

11,500 athletes are expected to travel to Japan from hundreds of countries this July. Additionally, about 79,000 journalists, officials, and staff will be in attendance. 

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The individuals working behind the scenes have created an official list of rules that all parties involved must follow to avoid being potentially barred from competing or having their credentials completely stripped. 

The International Olympic Committee announced last month that Pfizer would be donating Covid-19 vaccines to all athletes and country delegates before they travel to Japan. While taking the vaccine isn’t a requirement for attending and participating in the Games, it’s highly encouraged for obvious safety reasons. 

All competitors from outside Japan must be tested for Covid-19 twice, on two separate days within 96 hours of their flight to Japan, they will then be tested again upon arrival. Athletes will be expected to download an app that will monitor their location and be used for contact tracing purposes as well. 

Athletes will also be required to quarantine for three days after they arrive. They will be allowed to participate in Game related activities during quarantine as long as they continue to test negative; they will be tested daily. 

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Athletes will also be required to do daily reporting of their temperature and any potential symptoms that appear within the app. Temperatures will be checked upon entry to every Olympic venue. 

If an athlete does test positive for the virus, they will immediately go into isolation and their apps will be used to contact and trace any other individual they may have been in contact with. 

Social distancing protocols will also be enforced as all athletes will be competing at least six-and-a-half feet apart from each other. All physical interactions are discouraged as a means of preventing potential spreading of the virus. 

Athletes will be able to eat within the Olympic village or at specially-permitted venues and locations; they won’t be able to explore Japan during their downtime. 

Unless athletes are eating, drinking, sleeping, training, or competing, they will also be expected to wear a mask the whole time they’re at the Games. These rules will ideally keep all athletes, journalists, and behind the scenes workers safe and healthy throughout the entirety of the summer Games.

Tokyo Olympics

Postponed Tokyo Summer Olympics Will Likely Not Allow Fans From Abroad To Attend 

Tokyo Olympic organizing committee President Seiko Hashimoto recently hinted at the possibility that no foreign fans would be allowed at the Tokyo Games this year after talking with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and other Olympic executives. Hashimoto didn’t directly say that this rule would be enforced, however, it’s likely that in the coming months the announcement will be made official. 

Japanese newspaper Mainichi cited unnamed sources that were apparently “involved in the discussions” in which Olympic organizers claimed that foreign fans would be excluded from the Games this year due to safety concerns and the uncertainty surrounding where the world will be at with the Covid-19 pandemic by this summer. 

“If the situation is tough and it would make the (Japanese) consumers concerned, that is a situation we need to avoid from happening,” organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said after discussing how the decision on foreign fans will be officially made by the end of the month. She specifically is wanting one by March 25th, when the torch relay is projected to begin. 

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The Olympic Games are currently expected to open on July 23rd, and according to the Mainichi newspaper, “unnamed government officials already know that in the current situation it is impossible to bring in foreign spectators.”

80% of residents in Japan have claimed that they want the Games to be postponed again, or fully cancelled this year due to the pandemic and health and safety concerns. Japan has overall controlled the pandemic much better than most countries, however, they still experienced 8,000 deaths. 

The subject of fans was a key part of the five-party talks with Bach, International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa, according to Hashimoto. 

“We will focus on the essentials. That means mainly the competitions. This has to be the clear focus. In this respect we may have to set one or another priority.”

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The exclusion of fans is nothing new to the conversation surrounding the Olympics this year. The Japanese public has adamantly opposed the Games overall, claiming that allowing outsiders from dozens of countries to come into a small arena sounds like the last thing anyone should participate in during a global pandemic. 

According to Bach, “the games will involve 11,000 Olympic athletes, and later 4,400 Paralympians, and tens of thousands of coaches, judges, sponsors, media and VIPs. I was encouraged at the number of national Olympic committees that were getting athletes vaccinated.”

It’s important to note that the IOC said it encourages vaccinations but will not require them. The general plan as of right now is to isolate athletes in an Olympic Village located along Tokyo Bay. Once they arrive they will be placed in a bubble until they leave the nation; kind of like the NBA bubble at Disney but at a much larger scale. 

“A decision on venue capacity will be made by the end of April. We need to look at the overall situation before we decide on any percentage rates. We believe we will not be accepted unless the citizens feel confident that sufficient countermeasures are taken. Having fewer fans will be costly. The organizing committee has budgeted income of $800 million from ticket sales. That shortfall will have to be made up by Japanese government entities,” Hashimoto explained. 

Only time will tell if and how the 2021 postponed Tokyo Summer Olympic Games will be possible. 

Tokyo Olympics 2020

Tokyo Olympic Organizers And IOC Conflict Over Who Pays For Postponement Of Games

Tokyo Olympic organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are in the middle of an intense financial feud over who will cover the costs for the “unprecedented yearlong postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.”

A spokesperson for Tokyo’s organizers, Masa Takaya, recently said that the organizing committee has asked the IOC, which is based in Switzerland, to remove a specific statement on the IOC’s website that suggests the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has agreed that Japan would pay for a majority of the postponement costs. This is what began the initial conflict. 

“It will now be the work of the IOC to assess all the challenges induced by the postponement of the Games, including the financial impact for the Olympic Movement. The Japanese government has reiterated that it stands ready to fulfil its responsibility for hosting successful Games. At the same time, the IOC has stressed its full commitment to the successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The IOC and the Japanese side, including the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, will continue to assess and discuss jointly about the respective impacts caused by the postponement,” according to the IOC.

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For context, media reports in Japan have estimated that the yearlong postponement brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will likely cost up to $6 billion when all is said and done. That’s an estimation, as the actual cost of postponing and rescheduling an Olympics isn’t something that’s ever had to be calculated. In fact, the Olympic games have never actually been postponed before; they have been cancelled three times though, all for war related reasons.  

“It’s not appropriate for the prime minister’s name to be quoted in this manner,” Takaya said. Within IOC’s Frequently Asked Questions page, the organization went on to also claim that Japan “will continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs.”

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After the initial complaint from Tokyo, the IOC removed Abe’s specific name from any questions regarding financial obligations. The edited version is what’s quoted above: “The Japanese government has reiterated that it stands ready to fulfill its responsibility for hosting successful games.”

Regardless of the feud between Japan and the IOC, technically and legally, it’s up to the Japanese government to pay for a majority of the costs for the postponement, however, it’s a relatively sensitive time to be mentioning the costs of a sporting event while there’s a worldwide pandemic that’s already greatly impacting the economy. 

Under the terms of the Host City Contract that Tokyo signed in 2013, the city of Tokyo, the Japanese Olympic Committee and local organizers are obligated to always pay most of the costs. Section 68 of the contract reads: “Unless expressly stipulated otherwise in this contract, all obligations of the city, the NOC and/or the OCOG pursuant to this contract, shall be at their expense.”

The Tokyo Olympics are projected to begin on July 23rd 2021, and as of right now the Japanese Olympic Committee and government itself is focusing on the coronavirus pandemic, and rehabilitating their country/economy. Only time will tell how much this olympic postponement will further affect their economy as well.

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