This week, Games organizers released a ‘Playbook’ aimed at various officials and dignitaries planning to be in Tokyo for when the show gets going on July 23, one year later than planned.
The information did not make for chirpy reading, no matter how many colorful, cheery graphics the designers had applied.
Everyone at the Games will have to make sure they “keep physical interactions with others to a minimum.”
Singing or chanting to support athletes will be discouraged, and handshakes and hugs are a definite no-no (clapping, at least, is OK).
Trips to tourist areas, shops, restaurants or bars will also be off limits for visitors during their first 14 days upon arrival in Japan.
As for anyone getting their hopes up of the famous post-event parties and shenanigans at the Athletes’ Village, well, any excitement there looks to have been extinguished.
In past years, it wasn’t even an Olympics if there weren’t accompanying stories about the record-breaking number of condoms being handed out to randy athletes.
This time it will be a very different kind of protection, with masks the order of the day.
No sex please, this is the Covid-19 Games.
Athletes will get their own separate ‘Playbook’ specifically designed for them in the coming weeks, but you can already sense the gist of its contents.
Indeed, officials have previously signaled that competitors should leave Japan as soon as their events are over, rather than linger.
Come and compete, but don’t do much else while you’re here, seems to be the message.
It is all a far cry from the hopes expressed towards the end of last year, when the likes of International Olympic Committee bigwig John Coates proclaimed that “these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Rather than a gleaming, glittering festival of sport, the Games now look like limping over the line as we are still left grappling with the virus rather than vanquishing it.