Olympic champions at the Tokyo Games can forget about having their medals hung around their necks as they stand on the podium, shaking hands with dignitaries and soaking up their success.
Instead, the three medals will be presented on a tray to the athletes on the podium and they then have to hang them around their own neck in front of the empty stands.
There will also be no handshakes or hugs.
“The medals will not given around the neck,” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach told a virtual media roundtable on Wednesday.
“They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and the athlete will take the medal him or herself.
“It will be made sure the person who will put the medal on the tray will do it with disinfected gloves.
“Presenters and athletes will wear a mask. There will be no handshakes and no hugs during the ceremony.”
The announcement came on the same day that a coronavirus cluster was discovered at a Japanese hotel where dozens of Brazilian Olympic team members are staying.
It has raised new concerns about infections at what the world’s top Olympics official promised on Wednesday would be “historic” Games.
Just over a week before the opening ceremony of the postponed Games, seven staff at the hotel in Hamamatsu city, south-west of Tokyo, had tested positive, a city official said.
⚡️Tearjerker Moments⚡️ #CelebrateTheOlympicGames
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) July 14, 2021
But a 31-strong Brazilian Olympic delegation, which includes judo athletes, are in a “bubble” in the hotel and separated from other guests and have not been infected.
Medical experts are worried that Olympic “bubbles”, imposed by Tokyo 2020 Olympic officials in an effort to keep out COVID-19, might not be completely tight as the movement of staff servicing the Games can create opportunities for infection.
The Olympics have lost much public support in Japan because of fears they will trigger a surge of infections even though no spectators will be allowed into sports venues.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach praised the organisers and the Japanese people for staging the Games in the midst of the pandemic.
“These will be historic Olympic Games … for the way how the Japanese people overcame so many challenges in the last couple of years, the great east Japan earthquake and now the coronavirus pandemic,” Bach told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
When Japan was awarded the Games in 2013, they were expected to be a celebration of recovery from a deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011.