Olympic athletes to put their own medals at Tokyo ceremonies in “very significant change”

TOKYO (AP) – Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will wrap their medals around their necks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

The “very significant change” in the traditional medal ceremonies at the 339 events was unveiled on Wednesday by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

“The medals will not be given to the neck,” Bach told the international media in a teleconference from Tokyo. “They will be presented to the athlete on a record and then the athlete will receive the medal.”

“It will be ensured that the person who puts the medal on the disc will only do so with disinfected gloves, so that the athlete can be sure that no one has touched them before,” Bach added.

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The Olympic approach is different from football in Europe, where UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has personally hung medals around the players’ necks in the final of the competition in recent weeks.

Ceferin also shook hands with Italy’s outstanding goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma at the presentation of Euro 2020 medals and trophies in London on Sunday. Donnarumma’s save on penalties won the title for Italy against England.

Bach confirmed on Wednesday that in Tokyo “there will be no handshake and no hugs there during the ceremony.”

Olympic medals are usually presented by an IOC member or a senior official in the sports governing body.

The IOC had previously said that medals and ceremony officials should wear masks.

The Tokyo Olympics open on July 23 in a state of emergency and a growing number of COVID-19 cases in the city.

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