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According to Yahoo Sports, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has added to their usual risk waiver the risk of potential death due to the COVID-19 virus. The World Players Association has asked that the portion of the waiver citing the COVID-19 death risk be removed.
The waiver now includes the following:
“I agree that I participate in the Games at my own risk and own responsibility, including any impact on my participation to and/or performance in the Games, serious bodily injury or even death raised by the potential exposure to health hazards such the transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious disease or extreme heat conditions while attending the Games.”
Athletes and fans may forget that the Zika virus was a major concern leading up to the Rio Olympic Games. The Zika virus was suspected of causing birth defects. Some athletes took to having their sperm frozen in advance of the Games. Most Games offer risks that are unique to their environment.
All athletes, volunteers, and delegates at the Tokyo Games will be required to take two COVID-19 tests within 96 hours before they fly to Japan.
Heat and disease were not mentioned during the Rio Games. Rio and the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships (and most global championships that operate in summer) posed a very real heat risk in the road events such as the marathon and racewalks. Several athletes ended up in the hospital due to heat-related issues in Doha.
IOC chief operating officer Lana Haddad said, “entry forms have been in place for previous Games, and have been updated to include COVID-19-related consideration.” She said that this was “to provide transparency and ensure the informed consent from the Games participants.”
All events pose risks when entering, including your local 5K fun run for charity. Waivers are always required to be in place in order to purchase liability insurance. The Olympic Games are no different. A risk identification and risk assessment (both legal terminology), will have been conduction in order to protect the Games organizers and other stakeholders from being found at fault.
According to Inside the Games, the IOC has warned those who breach COVID-19 protocols could be stripped of their accreditation, and the regulations will be in place irrespective of whether participants have been vaccinated or not.
Bach recently claimed that more than 80 per cent of people in the Athletes’ Village would be vaccinated.
John Coates, chair of the IOC’s Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission, also claimed that it was now “clearer than ever” the Games would be safe for everyone participating, as well as the general public in Japan.