The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that the athletes heading for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2021 will have a shorter stay than usual for the mega-quadrennial event due to strict COVID-19 health protocols.
The decision was taken in a virtual news conference on Monday to reduce the risk of athletes getting infected by the coronavirus.
The IOC and the Japanese government decided on calling off the Games this year and postponing them to 2021 as the pandemic put the breaks on almost every major sporting event. It was for the first time in its 124-year history that the Games had to be postponed for an entire year.
Athletes to arrive five days before the start of the Olympics
After the IOC executive board meeting took place, president Thomas Bach said that the athletes competing in the next year's Games would be allowed in the village five days before the start of the event. He also revealed that they would have to depart within two days of their elimination or the completion of the event.
"National Olympic committees should adapt to the arrival and departure policies to ensure that athletes can arrive five days prior to the start of the competition and depart a maximum two days after the completion of the competition," said IOC president Thomas Bach.
Bach also added that this decision also applies to the officials and other personnel involved. Exemptions would get considered relating to certain situations like training obligations and time schedules.
"This applies to each sport's specific officials, not only athletes. Exceptions will be considered subject to certain sport-specific criteria," added the IOC president.
Athletes participating in the second week of the Olympics, which will feature athletics and wrestling will miss out on the famous opening ceremony. On the other hand, the athletes involved in judo, swimming, and gymnastics will not be able to attend the closing ceremony of the Olympics.
With more than 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympic athletes expected at the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC, along with the organizing committee, will be issuing further guidelines by January 2021. The Tokyo Olympics 2021 will commence in 2021 on July 23rd.