USOPC Clears Andrew, Says Athletes Are Not Required To Wear Masks in Interviews

A kerfluffle over Michael Andrew not wearing a mask during an Olympic interview caused the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to confirm that Olympic athletes are not required to wear masks during interviews.

Andrew is a 22-year-old U.S. Olympian who has drawn the ire of some fans and observers, first for his public decision to remain unvaccinated, and later for not wearing a mask in a post-session interview.

After his 200 IM final, Andrew did not wear a face mask while giving an interview in the mixed zone, a space where media members can interview athletes. It’s worth noting that the mixed zone is a different venue from the interviews many television viewers have seen NBC conduct on the pool deck itself immediately after races.

USA Today reporter drew attention to Andrew’s decision not to wear a mask, noting that “every other U.S. swimmer” she’d interviewed had worn a mask while conducting interviews in the mixed zone. When asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask, Andrew said he was prioritizing his breathing after his 200 IM.

“For me it’s pretty hard to breathe in after kind of sacrificing my body in the water,” Andrew said. “So I feel like my health is a little more tied to being able to breathe than protecting what’s coming out of my mouth.”

“I think it’s great that there’s procedures, but at the end of the day, all of us here have been under quarantine and in the same testing protocol, so there’s a level of safety (that’s) comfortable when we’re racing.” Andrew said he would put his mask back on after the interview, but would not wear it while speaking to be better heard by reporters.

The USOPC originally told USA Today it was reviewing Andrew’s conduct, and that not wearing a mask was a violation of the event’s COVID-19 protocols.

But the organization clarified several hours later that the rules do not require athletes to wear masks during interviews, though the USOPC did say Andrew had been “reminded of Games policy and established COVID mitigation protocols.”

As he has been in seemingly every aspect of his swimming career, Andrew has been something of a lightning rod for controversy in the pandemic-delayed and pandemic-adjusted Tokyo Olympics.

Andrew has not been vaccinated for the coronavirus. He said before the Olympics that he didn’t want to put anything into his body that might cause an adverse reaction and cause him to miss training, noting that he already had some level of immunity to the virus after getting COVID-19 in late 2020.

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Erik
1 month ago

Point————>

[MA’s head]

Sprint Guy
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

“ But the organization clarified several hours later that the rules do not require athletes to wear masks during interviews “. Literally copied and pasted from the article. I think the point went over your head!

jeff
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

just because he isn’t required to doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be wearing one

That70s_swimmer
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

On the medal stand, we have watched numerous athletes wearing masks until they are asked to removed them for a photograph. They are handed their medals on a tray while wearing a mask -and the national anthem is played while they all are wearing a mask. HOWEVER – in an enclosed environment (not on the pool deck) they can remove their mask when being interviewed. Say – WTF?

Cate
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

He didn’t know that when he decided to “prioritize his breathing”. He just decided he wasn’t going to do it. The very definition of the ugly American.

Rafam
Reply to  Cate
1 month ago

I’d say your comment/assumption is that very definition. Gold medal for you in hate. Go take a nap. Sick of the negativity.

M d e
Reply to  Cate
1 month ago

I suspect he actually did know.

He’s been pretty clear the whole time he would follow the rules exactly to the letter so he could participate but do nothing more.

That70s_swimmer
Reply to  M d e
1 month ago

TOKYO, July 25 (Reuters) – Athletes must wear masks at all Tokyo Olympic Games venues, including medal ceremonies, the International Olympic Committee said on Sunday, but under a new policy they are briefly allowed to remove them on the podium for a photo opportunity.

Masks are mandatory across all venues, both inside and outside, for all athletes, staff and media, as part of Games organizers’ strict measures to combat the coronavirus.
“It’s not a nice to have. It’s a must to have,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.
“No, there is no relaxation and we would urge and ask everyone to obey the rules,” Adams said. “It’s important for the sports, for everyone involved and for our Japanese friends… Read more »

VA says Jeeeeah
1 month ago

In my comfy chair reaching for my popcorn… comment time!

Last edited 1 month ago by VA says Jeeeeah
Cate
Reply to  VA says Jeeeeah
1 month ago

😁

Stephen
1 month ago

He’s a dog.

Meeeeeee
Reply to  Stephen
1 month ago

Is that a question or a statement?

pSL1988
Reply to  Stephen
1 month ago

You are a donkey.

Mike
Reply to  Stephen
1 month ago

Where was god mentioned in any of this?

Cate
Reply to  Stephen
1 month ago

Are you in the right thread, sweetie?

Swim Mom
Reply to  Stephen
1 month ago

And that’s relevant how?

beachmouse
Reply to  Stephen
1 month ago

News flash- Dressel is a serious Christian too and almost everyone likes him because he seems like he tries every day to be a decent human being

anonymous
Reply to  beachmouse
1 month ago

Dressel’s mask was below his chin in the mixed zone. The picture of that is on the same twitter feed

M d e
Reply to  beachmouse
1 month ago

Dressel wins, and doesn’t get asked questions about it.

LBSWIM
Reply to  Stephen
1 month ago

How dare you put dogs in the same category as MA!

🐶 🐩 🐕

– signed LBSWIM’s doggies.

Last edited 1 month ago by LBSWIM
John
1 month ago

Twitter can suck it, MA vindicated again

Cate
Reply to  John
1 month ago

Too bad he decided on his own to not wear a mask before being sure of the regulations. They had to check after the fact. The only thing that’s vindicated is his amazing arrogance when competing in someone else’s country.

M d e
Reply to  Cate
1 month ago

Bet you he did know.

Snarky
Reply to  John
1 month ago

No medal for fourth.

Chris
Reply to  John
1 month ago

You’re a toucan

PrairieFast
1 month ago

Michael Andrew’s comment, “So I feel like my health is a little more tied to being able to breathe than protecting what’s coming out of my mouth,” seems to me like the height of Covid-related arrogance. Wearing a mask is not about protecting YOU, it’s about those around you.

I had some respect for the guy and his team, being willing to do what they felt was best in terms of USRPT and his swimming, but his/their attitude related to Covid has negated that. It’s just plain selfish.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  PrairieFast
1 month ago

Even as he’s “vindicated” here by the USOPC, it was still an insanely bad answer. (“Bad” in like, a PR sense.) Now everyone knows you’re a kind of a dick! Don’t do that!

ACC
Reply to  PrairieFast
1 month ago

Hey, I’d believe he has been having trouble breathing. He definitely has been choking this whole meet.

Itsnotbreaststrokeanymore
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Wow, that’s harsh!

MA is overrated
Reply to  Itsnotbreaststrokeanymore
1 month ago

Harsh, but true.

He said what?
Reply to  MA is overrated
1 month ago

yep.

Bruh
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Nice one

Rafael
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Someone bring a Trophy to this guy..

Bobo Gigi
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

The verb “choke” has been used so often in the comments this week. I need to add it to my limited English vocabulary.

David Ditby
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Sounds like you need a good old fashioned dose of covid! Go back to wearing a mask in your car alone while you text and drive

ACC
Reply to  David Ditby
1 month ago

What are you even talking about? This has nothing to do with my comment and I don’t do either of those things.

LBWIM
Reply to  David Ditby
1 month ago

You shouldn’t text and drive David. It’s not safe.

Swimmy
Reply to  David Ditby
1 month ago

David is Michael Andrew. Definitely triggered

Meow
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Ok, that made me LOL.

Chris
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

You sir, win the Gold medal for comments section.

LBWIM
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Great. There goes my coffee all over my computer monitor and keyboard.

Jeepers
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Yeah. 5th in the world is choking. Good grief.

Snarky
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Had trouble breathing that last 50 of the 2 IM. Mask on dry land might have helped!

Cate
Reply to  PrairieFast
1 month ago

As an American, I cringe when I hear the term “ugly American” but I guess down deep I know it’s true. It’s not just the actions, but the symbolism of those actions in someone else’s country. Whether you’re talking about ripping a poster off the wall and peeing outside a Rio gas station or electing to go maskless before being sure of the rules with a “what’s the big deal?”; the level of cluelessness is mind boggling.

Rowdy Gaines not having a clue as to why the flipping of finals and prelims to spotlight Michael Phelps in 2008 and benefit American time zones by NBC was grounds for complaining…apparently viewers in other time zones don’t matter to him. “It’s the… Read more »

Not Tapered 🏊
Reply to  Cate
1 month ago

Virtue Signaling Cate

nope
Reply to  Not Tapered 🏊
1 month ago

“I just learned two new words” Not Tapered

Jack
Reply to  Cate
1 month ago

On a brighter note, I was so impressed with how Dressel conducts himself out of the pool. Such a polite and respectful man. MA should watch and learn

moddiddle
Reply to  Cate
1 month ago

Majority of US athletes behave themselves when they’re a guest in another country. All it takes is 1 jerk to make us all look bad

Last edited 1 month ago by moddiddle
Please and Thank you
Reply to  PrairieFast
1 month ago

Agreed. This guy, who has been MA the brand from his early teens, seems grossly unprepared to talk to the media. So sheltered. All of this could have been avoided. But he spoke up pre Olympics, and drew tons of attention. And everytime he speaks he digs further and further.

Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free in Paris
1 month ago

Just as a non-American, I understand MA divides opinion across the pond and some people love him and others hate him. Can absolutely understand why people would be annoyed or consider it selfish he is not vaccinated.

However, this latest story from the journalist frankly seems to be singling him out. A number of other swimmers, Brits included, have given interviews without wearing a mask, or wearing one, but around their chin, which kind of defeats the point. When I initially read the previous headline I had assumed MA was just strutting around blatantly disregarding Covid measures, but now it turns out he’s frankly been singled out.

Not familiar with the reporter’s wider work, but this singling out of MA… Read more »

Erik

He was seen on live TV not wearing his mask over his mouth and speaking to people in the ready room prior to the 200IM. This is par for the course and he truly cares of no one but himself.

So much for following the Lord’s teachings…

Sprint Guy
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

Oh yes, because this one small decision makes him a truly selfish man. I’m sure he doesn’t care about his friends, family, neighbors, members of his community at all and he’s just disgustingly selfish in real life not just at the Olympics. We can judge his entire character off of one decision. This completely negates every choice he’s made his entire life before covid that has made him a good son, brother, and man of faith. Nope. Let’s normalize judging people’s entire personality off of one decision!

Marcelo
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

He is known to be a very good guy..
But…. not vaccinating and going around with no mask is wrong.
His excuse is athletes gotta be very careful what they put in they bodies.
And “I gotta breath”.
Well maybe a vaccine would have made an excuse to his bad meet.
I am waiting for the next Michael Phelps since he was 14.

Meeeeeee
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

I can’t find the place in the Bible where it says Thou shalt wear a mask correctly in the ready room.

Huh
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

I have seen it from multiple athletes, not just MA. Get off your high horse.

anonymous
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

They are all tested daily so they arecall negative in the ready room.

Steve Friederang
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

That’s the problem As a Christian I know we are targets and ambassadors. Michael needs to review the fact that we are called to be witnesses for Christ and far less of ourselves. He has perhaps the greatest gifts of any swimmer on the planet. And I love his willingness to find the best way to train and manifest those gifts. But, when presented with the FACT that he doesn’t manifest those gifts fully (stroke errors, higher drop-off rates, awful pacing, etc.) he refuses to adapt in order to justify his own ideas with God’s given talent. Even if he wins, he’s not a great ambassador when all he talks about is himself in relation to his choice not to… Read more »

swimapologist
Reply to  Steve Friederang
1 month ago

Ooooh. If this is the same Erik who regularly comments here under the name Erik, he’s going to come at you hard. He HATES Christians.

Hank

Cheers for seeing beyond the smokescreen of our liberal news media.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hank
Landrew
Reply to  Hank
1 month ago

hardly see how a hit piece is “liberal news media.” USA Today is one step away from being a tabloid

Not Tapered 🏊
Reply to  Landrew
1 month ago

The piece became tabloid once she offered her opinion.

PhillyMark
Reply to  Hank
1 month ago

i’m sure if megan rapinoe sneezed during the national anthem it would similarly be covered negatively by faux n’ friends. clicks, clicks clicks = $$$

Chris
Reply to  Hank
1 month ago

cheers for not understanding science.

Ol' Longhorn

He was singled out because of his absolute a**hole response when directly asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask. Translation of what he said was, “I could care less about others, the host country, or the U.S. image, I do what I want because of ‘my body’ and my ‘sacrifices’.” He could not have come up with a worse answer if he tried.

Coachy
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

If it was such a a$$hole response why did you have to translate it to something else? Why not just write what he said?

Marcelo
Reply to  Coachy
1 month ago

That is basically what he said

Meeeeeee
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Well regarding the US image he isn’t turning his back on the anthem or taking a knee or supporting communist/marxist ideologies. So there’s that.

Sam B
Reply to  Meeeeeee
1 month ago

other than your statement not having any basis in reality (athletes turning back on anthem, supporting communist ideologies – which you no clue what it is) your point is?

Last edited 1 month ago by Sam B
Huh
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Logical fallacies galore in your comment. 🙁

anonymous
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

I wouldn’t be so quick to believe that was his complete actual response considering the source.

John

It’s a hit piece, journalism is dead. It’s all about selling ads and getting clicks. MA was vindicated and I can bet we will see ZERO retractions from any of the major media outlets.

CardsFan

Yep a lot of the athletes are maskless during interviews, Maggie MacNeil was for sure. Shes my fave

Bruh
Reply to  CardsFan
1 month ago

But I am 95% sure she is vaccinated

Sprint Guy
Reply to  Bruh
1 month ago

Can’t vaccinated people still spread the virus? That’s the whole reason that people in the US are required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status but go off!

CraigH
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

They can but they have a way way lower like likelihood of spreading it, since they generally have much lower viral loads.

Sprint Guy
Reply to  CraigH
1 month ago

They can still spread the virus. Even if it’s a small chance don’t we want to “fLatEn ThE cUrvE”? there’s also a small chance of catching covid but everyone is worried about it so if there’s only a small chance of vaccinated people spreading the virus, they should still be required to wear a mask. Either that or we can stop the hypocrisy and stop being mask nazis!

Swimmy
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

Your type of thinking is the reason the delta variant is here. Congrats

Last edited 1 month ago by Swimmy
Sprint Guy
Reply to  CraigH
1 month ago

They can still spread the virus tho. Small percentage or not. Stop the hypocrisy

isopropyl
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

I’m with you Sprint Guy! It’s so hard to keep up with what side of the argument these morality warriors are going to be on each day!

Sprint Guy
Reply to  isopropyl
1 month ago

Much love to you rubbing alcohol man ❤️

Eddie
Reply to  CraigH
1 month ago

Fauci yesterday said THE EXACT OPPOSITE.

anonymous
Reply to  CraigH
1 month ago

Just on news vaccinated people can spread delta variant and can carry high viral loads.

SwimMom
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

We are? I live in the US and this isn’t my reality.

More ignorance at it’s finest.

Sprint Guy
Reply to  SwimMom
1 month ago

California. The state wear vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks but can still spread the virus yet unvaccinated people are forced to wear masks bc we are “more of a threat”. I’m saying stop the hypocrisy and let everyone go maskless since even vaccinated people still pose a threat.

anonymous
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

The doctors say the vaccinated are not as ill as unvaccinated if they should get any variant of covid. MA has had covid and that helps him as well but maybe not to degree if he were vaccinated which would be like a booster for him.

Michael Schwartz
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

Yeah and can’t people who wear seatbelts still die from car accidents? Doesn’t mean that the vaccine doesn’t drastically reduce the risk to you and others. And just because something isn’t 100% effective doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing. Pretty sure condoms aren’t 100% effective either, but that doesn’t mean the Olympics don’t hand them out like candy…

Chris
Reply to  Sprint Guy
1 month ago

that’s the latest hot question. Apparently, with the delta variant, you can.

anonymous
Reply to  CardsFan
1 month ago

They are tested daily and in a bubble and mostly wearing a mask. I would think one gets tired of the mask and pulls it down for a break.

Coach Tom

If you look through the journalist’s tweets and her past articles and see that she clearly harbors a lot of personal animosity towards Michael and his family. It’d be nice if Michael simply went along with things even if he thinks they’re silly, because he is clearly bringing negative attention on the team at this point…but it’s pretty clear this journalist has it in for him and has been following him around with a cellphone camera waiting for a moment like this.

Bevo
Reply to  Coach Tom
1 month ago

She’s a total hack. Thanks Coach Tom. She writes for USA Today. Enough said.

anonymous
Reply to  Coach Tom
1 month ago

If that is the case then he should be excused from going to the media. I am doubting that he responded like she is saying

HJones

The funny thing is, the same journalist that tweeted the pictures of MA without a mask in the mixed area in an attempt to call him out posted a picture of Dressel after the 100 free final with no mask in the mixed area and wasn’t putting him on blast:

https://twitter.com/cbrennansports/status/1420581267649662977

swimmerswammer
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

Mask on but just pulled down for a second when you’re vaccinated is very different from no mask and refusing to wear a mask after you’ve revealed you’re unvaccinated.

anonymous
Reply to  swimmerswammer
1 month ago

He had a mask right there by his googles and cap. Perhaps he said he needed to catch his breath and then would put mask on. He has natural immunity, he is tested daily for covid. Maybe he didn’t actually refuse but since she is after him she wrote it like that. AND he is not required to wear a mask there

DCC Parent
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

Dressel going maskless didn’t fit the writer’s narrative. MA going maskless did. Yet another example of how real journalism has died.

Queen Victoria

Agree with you. He is been probably watched more closely by media . It is too bad they only focus on his unvaccinated status regardless he has antibody which protects him better than vaccines. Also many adverse reports about causing heart issues among teenagers and people in 20’s who got vaccines after they had Covid (meaning they have antibody).

We were watching gymnastics and Biles was not wearing a mask cheering in the stadium. Do they say anything about that?

Chris
Reply to  Queen Victoria
1 month ago

you have ZERO evidence that natural immunity is more protective than getting one of the vaccines. ZERO! Shut up with your misinformation.

Hank
1 month ago

💯.

Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Instead, somewhere on his journey from self-centered athlete to Michael America, Andrew lost his way.”

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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