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Tokyo 2020

Condoms as 'souvenirs', athletes permitted to breastfeed — Know some surprising facts about Tokyo Olympics

With just three weeks left for Tokyo Olympics, let us take a look at some of the surprising facts about the Games.

Condoms as souvenirs, athletes permitted to breastfeed — Know some surprising facts about Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics 2020 (Source: Olympics)


Md Imtiaz

Updated: 5 July 2021 5:06 PM GMT

The month of July is already upon us and we are just three weeks away from the Tokyo Olympics, which has been delayed for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Keeping major safety concerns in mind, the organisers of the delayed Tokyo Olympics announced a set of rules governing how teams move about and interact. Besides, they also introduced several pathbreaking systems in place to help athletes in the long run.

Here are some of the surprising facts about the Tokyo Olympics:

Condoms with clause!

To continue with the trend of distributing condoms at the Olympic Games, the organisers of the Tokyo Olympics will distribute about 1.6 lakh condoms to participating athletes. However, there's a catch! Unlike every time, athletes would be advised to not use those condoms but take them back home as 'souvenirs'. The athletes will not get the condoms during their stay but it will be distributed during their departure. The change was brought in regard to the Covid-19 situation. The athletes are advised against doing social gatherings to keep the risk of the spread of the virus minimum.

Supermom athletes can breastfeed their infants

Aliphine Tuliamuk (Source: Getty)

Organisers for the Tokyo Olympics has permitted athletes, who are also breastfeeding mothers, to bring their infants with them to the Games. The decision was taken after U.S. marathoner Aliphine Tuliamu pleaded publicly for Tokyo organisers to allow their infants to Japan. After carefully reviewing, the IOC reversed their stance that drew public outrage and a spokesperson said, "We are very pleased to hear that the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee has found a special solution regarding the entry to Japan for mothers who are breastfeeding and their young children." The new policy brings some relief to several athletes who have qualified for the Games, including US marathoner Aliphine Tuliamuk, whose daughter was born in January; Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher, whose daughter, was born in March; and U.S. soccer player Alex Morgan, whose daughter was born in May 2020.

A turning point for LGBTQ+ rights in Japan

With the Tokyo Olympics getting underway in July, it could be a watershed event that could open the door for a wider reach of the LGBTQ+ movement. Firstly, Pride House Tokyo, which opened its doors on International Coming Out Day on 11 October 2020, is the first to get official International Olympic Committee (IOC) backing. Pride House Tokyo is aimed at educating the world and also Japan of the difficulties the LGBTQ community has playing and enjoying sports while helping create a safe space for the community too.

The Olympic platform can be a key driver of change, with its inclusive approach to LGBT rights, and the demands of athletes to use their voice for change. "In sports, we are all equal," International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said at the opening of Tokyo's Pride House. The IOC has committed towards inclusion across the Olympic Movement and recognises that all athletes, regardless of their gender identity or sex characteristics should engage in safe and fair competition and therefore has also opened doors for transgender athletes to take part in the Olympics. New Zealand's 43-year-old weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is on track to become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics

Drinking alcohol banned

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have banned alcohol at the Games after they bowed to the outcry from a Japanese public that is concerned about hosting the event and worried about the pandemic restrictions. Though the committee said that it was considering sales of alcohol during the Games, it led to an outrage from many locals, with Tokyo and several other areas just emerging from a prolonged state of emergency during which restaurants were prohibited from selling alcohol as a virus control measure. The president of Tokyo 2020, Seiko Hashimoto, said that the committee had consulted with experts and decided to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol at Olympic venues "to prevent the expansion of infection."

Weeding out Marijuana

Olympic organisers had earlier warned countries with relaxed cannabis laws that weed isn't allowed in Japan. "There are countries and regions around the world that have relaxed rules recently on the use of cannabis," noted Tokyo Games CEO Toshiro Muto.

"The use of cannabis constitutes a violation of the law in Japan and that needs to be fully communicated," he added. Japan has strict laws against Cannabis possession and consumption, with up to five years of prison for personal use and seven years for dealing. Cannabis is also listed as a performance-enhancing drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

In the latest developments, the star women sprinter from the USA, Sha'Carri Richardson, has tested positive for the use of marijuana. The traces of marijuana were reported to have been found in her samples taken for tests during the US Olympic Athletics Trials. Richardson had shot to fame during the final of the Women's 100m sprint at the Trials, clocking an impressive 10.86 seconds to storm her way into the US Olympic contingent. This performance has now been provisionally disqualified. It also means that her Olympic participation hangs in the balance.

Japan's Anime awesomeness

With Tokyo being the host for the Olympic Games, we can expect an anime extravaganza during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics. Anime fans have also waited in anticipation of awesome merchandise and products to come because of the worldwide event. The Tokyo Olympics Official Online shop took orders for some new character designed clothing items that were unveiled back in 2017, and the characters they chose may surprised everyone. It included figures of Astroboy to even Goku of Dragon Ball Z, and other famous fictional characters from Japan.

Forget family time in Tokyo

During the US Gymnastics team's trial on Sunday. A sports commentator explained that it was a particularly emotional night for the friends and family members of the Tokyo-bound gymnasts as it was the last night they would get to watch their star athletes compete in person until after the Tokyo Olympic Games. Organisers of this year's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games have banned all international spectators and fans from attending the events. The decision stems from health-related and safety concerns amid the pandemic. As explained in a statement from Olympic organisers in March, "This conclusion will further contribute to ensuring safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public."

Make a call with your Olympic medal?

Tokyo 2020 unveiled its Olympic medals made from recycled mobile phones. The Tokyo 2020 Medal Project sourced small electronic devices from all over Japan to create 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals. The organisers had first announced it would be making its medals out of recycled electronics way back in February 2017, asking the public to donate its old or unwanted phones. Gold, silver and bronze were extracted from the phones, with the same method used in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The gold medal to be awarded at Tokyo Olympics

Could I get an autograph, please? No!

The organisers have unveiled tough new rules for spectators as they will not be able to hug their athletes, nor can they get autographs in view of the pandemic. Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto warned festivities "will have to be suppressed" to keep the Games safe, and conceded that organisers will need to be "creative" to stoke a party atmosphere. Asking athletes for autographs or "expressing verbal support" is also a no-no, as is waving a towel or "any form of cheering that could create a crowd". "The festive mood will have to be suppressed - that has become a major challenge," Hashimoto told reporters.

You live alone, you dine alone

Organizers were originally planning to feed residents of the village in vast dining halls – the largest one with a capacity to seat 4,500 people at once. But now, the organisers have asked athletes to dine alone, maintain social distancing with others, and wipe down surfaces after eating.

With over 115 Indian athletes making their way into the Games, plenty of high-octane encounters await us when all the eyes of the world will be glued to Tokyo.

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