Canadian athletes say Tokyo Olympic Village completely different than another, but acquainted in age of COVID | CBC Sports activities

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By now you will have undoubtedly heard these Olympic Video games in Tokyo are completely different. And they’re. However in one other sense they’re merely an extension of the wretched pandemic world all of us, together with athletes, have been residing in for greater than a 12 months.

The Olympic Village, which is able to home greater than 10,000 athletes from each nook of the world, is not any completely different. 

As Canadian athletes start to trickle into Tokyo, they’ll navigate a dragnet of layered COVID-19 protocols and testing designed to make these pandemic Video games as protected as doable.

The socializing and international camaraderie that’s often probably the most memorable a part of the athlete expertise will probably be largely absent. Athletes are solely allowed to reach 5 days earlier than their occasion and should depart the village 24-48 hours after they’ve completed competing . Even the standard distribution of Olympic condoms has been delayed till athletes are on their manner house.

“There will not be that sort of haunt socializing,” stated Marnie McBean, Canada’s chef de mission, who as an Olympian has been in quite a few Olympic villages.

Whereas most Canadian athletes will name the village house, others like bicycle owner Mike Woods will keep in tightly managed bubbles positioned near their competitors websites.

“It would not even really feel like I am in Japan. It is fairly weird,” Woods stated from his resort in Gotemba, website of the Olympic highway race. 

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Extra from Tokyo 2020

“I’ve gone from the Tour de France, which was the biking bubble, to the very same folks within the resort that I noticed in France,” Woods stated Tuesday. “We’re not allowed to go away the resort aside from on coaching rides. We’re not allowed to cease whereas coaching. So other than the truth that you see Mount Fuji and the road indicators are in Japanese, you actually do not feel like you might be in Japan.”

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All of those guidelines are in fact in place to maintain athletes protected, however already there’s been numerous optimistic checks amongst athletes and officers arriving in Tokyo. And the working tally of optimistic checks will probably be an inescapable a part of this Olympic narrative.

On Tuesday, organizers stated 71 folks throughout the Olympic bubble had examined optimistic for COVID-19 this month.

“What we’re seeing is what we anticipated to see, primarily. If I assumed all of the checks that we did had been going to be damaging then I would not trouble doing the checks within the first place,” stated Brian McCloskey, chair of the impartial skilled panel on COVID-19 countermeasures at these Olympics.

McCloskey acknowledged that there will probably be extra instances.

“We do not put a determine on it, it’s unimaginable to foretell. What we do is to start with guarantee that the quantity is as little as doable, however extra importantly that each one the instances that come up are correctly managed.”

Rigorous testing new regular in lifetime of athletes

Canadian officers stated athletes have develop into accustomed to rigorous testing that will probably be a part of this Olympic expertise.

“As Canadian athletes, I feel we simply belief the protocols set in place. I feel for a lot of the groups heading to Tokyo, these protocols most likely aren’t one thing that is new to them,” stated rugby sevens co-captain Nathan Hirayama, who will probably be one among Canada’s flag-bearers at Friday’s opening ceremony. “I do know with our staff, we’re at all times doing full well being check-ins and protocols,”

“It is a system that athletes coming into the village have been working in for a couple of 12 months they usually’re conversant in it,” McBean stated. “It is fairly widespread to see folks spitting into a little bit take a look at tube and simply everybody’s received a masks on.”

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McBean stated the pandemic has created a singular village expertise. Athletes are often allowed to exit and discover the host metropolis, soaking in all it has to supply — however not this time.

“The actually fascinating factor that we’re seeing on this village to date is that individuals are actually exploring the little corners.”

Exploring is one factor. Truly interacting with different athletes is one other.

“Within the cafeteria, not solely is there a divider however there’s additionally one on all sides of the cubicle,” she stated. “So that you sort of really feel such as you’re sitting in a glass field consuming your meal, nevertheless it’s the one time you get to take your masks off.

“So everybody’s actually comfortable to be there as a result of you may see faces, however then you definately sort of really feel like it is advisable to make your name to the individual on the opposite facet.” 

To Woods that is unlucky. He has fond recollections of his time within the village on the Rio Olympics.

“I feel 100 per cent it is the very best half about going to the Olympics. In Rio while you had been within the Olympic Village, you felt such as you had been on the Olympics,” Woods stated. “You noticed each sort of athlete within the cafeteria. You can stroll round and take a look at all the opposite cool issues and it was very nice, actually particular. This actually seems like I’ve simply arrived at one other bike race.”

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