Olympic champions at the Tokyo Games starting next week can forget about having their medals hung around their necks as they stand on the podium, shaking hands with dignitaries and soaking up their success. Instead, the three medals will be presented on a tray to the athletes on the podium and they then have to hang them around their own neck in front of the empty stands. There will also be no handshakes or hugs.
“The medals will not given around the neck,” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach told a virtual media roundtable on Wednesday (July 14). “They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and the athlete will take the medal him or herself.
“It will be made sure the person who will put the medal on the tray will do it with disinfected gloves. Presenters and athletes will wear a mask. There will be no handshakes and no hugs during the ceremony,” he added.
The Olympics have lost much public support in Japan because of fears they will trigger a surge of infections even though no spectators will be allowed into sports venues and there are strict health measures in place for all Games participants.
The Olympic approach is different to football in Europe where UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has personally hung medals around the necks of players at competition finals in recent weeks. Ceferin also shook hands with Italy’s standout goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma at the Euro 2020 medal and trophy presentation in London on Sunday.
Donnarumma’s save in a penalty shootout clinched the title for Italy against England. Bach confirmed on Wednesday that in Tokyo ‘there will be no shake hands and there will be no hugs there during the ceremony’.
(with agency inputs)