All athletes competing at this summer’s Olympic Games will be required to sign a waiver and assume all risk related to COVID-19.
The issue was addressed during the closing questions of a two-day online conference, hosted by the official Olympic commission representing athletes. Nearly 2,000 athletes’ commission members registered to attend the event.
IOC President Thomas Bach, who was asked the question, directed it toward IOC chief operating officer Lana Haddad to give what he called “an expert’s answer.”
The traditional entry form Olympic athletes must sign includes the waiver and it was “updated to include COVD-19 related consideration,” according to Haddad.
Athletes were informed of the waiver on May 27 and told it was a “standard practice” for other major sporting events.
“This is really to provide transparency and ensure the informed consent from the games participants,” Haddad explained. “The entry forms are consistent with the standard practice of all other big event organizers. And the forms are within the framework of the law, if I may add.”
It is estimated that 11,000 athletes and thousands of coaches, officials, media and support workers will be in Tokyo next month for the Games. In recent weeks, many have called for the Olympics’ cancellation as cases in Japan continue to rise and vaccination rates continue to lag. Currently, Japan is in a state of emergency, which was recently extended until June 20. The United States also issued a travel advisory a week ago, advising against travel to the region.
Despite these calls, the IOC and Japanese government have not waivered in assuring that the Games will be safe and secure as they continue ahead in preparations for the Olympics.
The forum ended with athletes expressing their full support for the Games.