The 32nd Olympiad will be one like no other.
Two months before the Tokyo Olympic Games kicks off, there is now a race off the track to deliver a safety-first game.
Athletes and staff from more than 200 countries are preparing to make their way to Japan’s capital in what will be the biggest health challenge since the pandemic began.
The IOC recently released safety protocols for the games.
There’s been global speculation about its decision to not make vaccines mandatory for those flying into Tokyo.
IOC President Thomas Bach said in a media conference with Eurosport that it’s best for countries not to prioritise athletes as part of their vaccine rollout.
“We are not in favour of athletes jumping the queue…. That is the first priority.”
The current COVID situation is not a promising one in Japan, which presents a risk for those that may have to enter the games unvaccinated.
It will not only be the ones competing, but thousands of officials and staff members who will also be taking the risk.
Our government in Australia has not prioritised the vaccinations of athletes in its vaccination rollout plan.
Australian Olympic Committee Vice President Ian Chesterman told Channel Seven it expects athletes to be vaccinated under the vaccination rollout plan.
‘We’re very confident that we will have all our athletes vaccinated… and that is obviously in the desire of the IOC to have as many people vaccinated as possible so we are confident we can get to that position.”
Not every country has the same point of view as Australia, with many different vaccination plans.
Some countries like Hungary, Mexico and Russia have already announced they will prioritise athletes for vaccinations.
Other countries like Britain and Italy are giving the vaccine to their most vulnerable first.
But vaccinated or unvaccinated, there’s still a mountain of pressure on the IOC to make the games safe for all involved.