Olympians barred from hugging, shaking hands at Tokyo Games

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The Tokyo Olympics will look more different than any previous Games in the modern era due to the coronavirus and it will even affect how athletes interact with each other.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Wednesday there will be no handshaking and “there will be no hugs during the ceremony.”

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Bach added that medal winners will have to hang their awards around their own necks instead of the usual fanfare that comes with the ceremonies.

“The medals will not be given around the neck,” Bach told reporters. “They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself.

“It will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on tray will do so only with disinfected gloves so that the athlete can be sure that nobody touched them before.”

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Olympic organizers announced last week the Games will be held without spectators as the illness continues to grip parts of Japan.

“We have shown this responsibility since the day of the postponement,” Bach said last week, via Kyodo News. “And we will also show it today, and we will support any measure which is necessary to have a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games for the Japanese people and all the participants.”

Organizers previously allowed venues to be filled to 50% capacity with crowds not to exceed 10,000.

Athletes, media and sponsors were the only foreigners allowed at the Games.

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About 11,000 Olympians and 4,400 Paralympians are set to enter Japan over the next few weeks with tens of thousands of officials, judges, administrators, sponsors and media members. The IOC said more than 80% of residents of the Olympic Village will be vaccinated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.