After the photos of the podium on the pool deck caused a sensation, Olympic officials clarified what athletes can do in Tokyo.
After the scene on the pool deck raised doubts about the Tokyo Covid-19 agreement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) clarified the rules about wearing masks and social distancing.
Some onlookers raised their eyebrows, and the swimmer standing on the podium received the award without wearing a mask.
On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee stated that athletes must wear masks when not participating in competitions, training or eating.
IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said: “We will urge and require everyone to abide by the rules, no matter what stakeholder you are.”
“For sports and everyone involved in it, owning it is not a good thing, it is a must.
“It sends a strong message, so please follow the script.
“We understand that people are excited and we are also happy for athletes, but unfortunately, we have to make the rules stricter.
“This information is constantly being passed on, not just to the athletes.
“It’s in our interest, and it’s in everyone’s interest.”
However, the International Olympic Committee later clarified that its policy does allow athletes to take off their masks in a short period of time when posing for photos with medals.
Swimmers—including the winner of the Australian 4x100m freestyle relay team and Brandon Smith, who won a bronze medal in the 400m individual medley—are among those who took photos without a mask in a short period of time.
The Australian team defended the swimmers against what they did wrong.
“Our athlete just obeyed the instructions of the officials on the podium. He held a sign that said please take off the mask temporarily for taking pictures. This is what our girls did,” a statement said.
“The International Olympic Committee has confirmed this, and athletes do not have any problems doing this.”
Americans Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland, who won gold and silver medals in 400m IM, were also seen hugging after the game, and did not wear a mask with Smith when the trio was snatched for medals.
After the initial tough remarks, the IOC stated that an updated policy allows athletes to take off their masks for 30 seconds when they take pictures on the podium.
A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee said: “The swimmers in the venue this morning followed the instructions of the concierge team.”
“These instructions are in line with a new policy that is being communicated to everyone.
“It allows up to 30 seconds of social distancing photo opportunities on the podium.”
An official held up a sign to let contestants know when they could take off their masks for a short photo opportunity.
“We all put on the masks, and I took off the masks because someone held up a sign and told me,” Khaliz said at a press conference after the swimming gold medal. “That was the only time they left.
“I can’t say what the correct agreement is, but he has a sign on the podium that says take off the mask and put on the mask-this is what we did.
“Ideally, I would wear it (my mask) as much as possible. If I take off the mask on the podium, it really is because someone is holding a sign.”
People saw members of the Australian relay team diligently putting on masks shortly after the game ended, and only after the official announcement was all cleared did they take off the masks within the prescribed 30-second window.