With the Olympic Games set to kick off at the end of July, preparations for the Games are beginning in all sports, not just in swimming. In this series, SwimSwam looks at some of the leading news from outside of swimming as athletes around the world continue to prepare and qualify for the rescheduled Olympic Games which are due to begin in Tokyo on July 23rd, and Paralympic Games, which are scheduled to begin August 24th.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Releases Final Athlete’s “Playbook”
The third edition of what the IOC calls their playbook was released this week, detailing procedures and penalties for athletes while in Tokyo. The principles section of the document sums up it’s contents, saying:
“The COVID-19 countermeasures described in the Playbook are designed to create a safe Games environment for all Games participants. Equally, they offer an additional layer of protection for our hosts, the residents of Japan. You must fully adhere to the Playbook in the 14 days before you travel, throughout your journey and throughout your time in Japan – keeping your interaction with non-Games participants to a minimum.”
Among the more notable facts included in the document, the playbook details some of the testing protocols that are expected of athletes in the 14-days leading up to the games and while they are in Tokyo.
Prior to departing for Japan, athletes will be required to both monitor their health for two weeks beforehand, but must also pass two separate Covid-19 tests within 96 hours before their departure. After landing in Tokyo, athletes will be required to pass another test as well as spend three days in quarantine.
The document also detailed the punishments that will be handed out to athletes should they be found to be in violation of the established rules. There are five levels of sanctions that the IOC can choose to punish rulebreakers with, ranging from a warning for a level one offense to disqualification for level four offenses and financial penalties for level five.
Tokyo Citizens Continue Calls for Cancellation of Games
With the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly currently scheduled for July 4th, the leading political party, Tomin First no Kai, in favor of not allowing Olympic spectators, it is becoming more likely that spectators may not be allowed to watch the Olympic competitions this summer.
Despite this, Olympic organizers have already sold well over 200,000 tickets to spectators who live within Japan. Ticket sales were based on total venue capacities, with 42% of each stadium’s maximum tickets being sold.
While there are talks of not allowing Olympic spectators, other Japanese sporting events have continued allowing fans to watch from the stands. Recently, the Japanese professional baseball league saw over 13,000 fans attend a game in a stadium near Tokyo.
Shelby Houlihan Removed From US Track and Field Olympic Trials Competition After Initially Being Allowed to Compete
After testing positive for a banned substance earlier this week and being given a four-year ban for doping, Houlihan was initially slated to compete at the USATF Olympic Trials pending her filing an appeal with the Court of Arbitration of Sport. Now, USATF has reversed course, saying that she will not be eligible to compete after all.
USATF was forced to quickly make their decision regarding Houlihan’s competition at Trials, as her punishment was only handed down last week and her first competition was slated to take place on the morning of Friday the 17th of June. Houlihan is one of the best American women all-time in her two events, the 1,500 and 5,000-meter races. She currently holds the American record in both.