2020 Tokyo Olympics: Two Silver Medalists Banned from Games After Sightseeing Trip

by Amy Myers

“Leaving the Village for the purpose of sightseeing, that is something not to be tolerated,” spokesperson Masa Tayaka said during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This was the reason why two Georgian judokas could not stay in the Olympic Village.

According to the Tokyo 2020 spokesperson’s briefing, the two athletes (who remained nameless) violated COVID-19 regulations. In order to keep the virus from spreading, all people involved in the Games must stay within Olympic-associated venues. They must also refrain from using public transportations for the first two weeks after their arrival.

While perhaps a medical emergency would have been an understandable breach of regulation, the Tokyo 2020 team was quick to clarify that any recreational activities would cost athletes the chance to compete. Unfortunately for Georgia, the country’s team had to eject two silver medalists from their quarters. This means that the athletes cannot access any 2020 Tokyo Olympics venues.

Despite the discharge, the silver lining was that the nation didn’t qualify for the final judo event. So, the tourism-seeking athletes didn’t cost their team any additional medals. Beyond the basic information about the “accreditation deprivation,” the 2020 Tokyo Olympics spokes team couldn’t give many more details.

“All I can say is (the person) left the Olympic Village for sightseeing and accreditation was deprived. I can’t give you any more than that,” CEO of Tokyo 2020 Toshiro Muto said.

Thankfully for the Olympics participants, this is the first (and hopefully only) breach in COVID-19 regulations since the start of the games. The only other incident like this occurred during a training camp on July 16 in which a Ugandan weightlifter was missing. Tokyo 2020 officials found him five days later.

Other COVID-19 Precautions During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

With how quickly the Georgian athletes’ accreditation ended, it’s no secret that Japan is taking COVID-19 regulations extremely seriously. From the moment athletes, coaches, trainers and other Olympic participants arrive, they receive a saliva test. Before even exiting the airport, they have to wait until their test results come back. If the test comes back positive, the person either goes to the hospital or enters isolation.

Once in the Olympic Village, participants then take a daily saliva test. If they leave the vicinity for any reason, officials record their temperatures upon return. All participants have to follow the same procedure, regardless of if they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccination.

Of course, as we’ve seen, athletes have to wear masks when they’re not competing. Save for a quick photoshoot sans face wear, the same general rules apply at the 2020 Olympics as they do here–social distancing and washing hands.

All of these procedures and regulations are in place to ensure that the only thing athletes bring back to their home countries are medals.