A prominent Olympic official has suggested that nations ensure that their Olympic athletes have priority at the start of the vaccination rollout to ensure the re-arranged Tokyo Games can take place as planned.
Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), spoke to Sky News on the example of Canada to illustrate how countries can prioritize their Olympic athletes to ensure their nation is fully represented at the Games Make sure the Olympics remain a fully involved event.
“In Canada, where we have maybe 300 or 400 athletes, 300 or 400 vaccines have to be taken out of millions to have Canada represented at an international event of this size, character and level – I don’t think there are any would.” some kind of public outcry about it, “he said.
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“It’s a decision that every country has to make and there will be people who say they’ll jump in line, but I think that’s the most realistic way of doing it.”
In the UK, the head of the British Olympic Association (BOA) Andy Anson is urging athletes to continue their preparations, although there are doubts about the status of the Games in some areas.
“I tell the athletes, ‘It’s moving forward, you should train as hard as you can and be in the best possible shape to go out and take part in this amazing celebration.’
“You have to assume that it happens and any news will happen, but we have to get through these difficult times first.”
Despite Pound’s suggestion to give priority to athletes for COVID vaccinations, Anson said Team GB athletes will not be granted luxuries before the Tokyo Games.
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“You are not going to get priority access now because I think everyone – including the athletes – would agree that the priority is the people who need it most; the frontline workers, the elderly, people with health problems, and that is the first wave of vaccinations. ” ” he said.
“There will come a time, hopefully in late spring or summer, before the Olympics, when the athletes can be vaccinated.
“But we will do that when it is appropriate and when the government deems it appropriate. We have discussions with UK Sport and DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), but more about when the time is right is. “”
From an athlete’s point of view, open water swimmer Alice Dearing told Sky News that she was confident that best practices would be followed ahead of the Games.
“I really think the organizers will do everything they can to protect us,” said the 23-year-old Briton.
“If a vaccine is available to us and nobody is in danger of getting it, then I would have it.
“But it’s out of my hands. If I’m told it’s not available, that’s fine too. There are bigger things at risk, even if it’s hard to admit, because for me swimming is the greatest thing in the world. But the world is not about me. “
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