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Tokyo Olympics: Medal-winning athletes can now remove masks for podium photos

According to new IOC guidelines, medal-winning athletes at Tokyo Olympics can now remove their masks for 30 seconds for distanced podium photos

Mirabai Chanu wins silver medal at Tokyo Olympics (Source: getty images)

Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu (Source: Getty images)



Updated: 25 July 2021 1:57 PM GMT

The medal-winning athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will now be able to sport a wide smile for the shutterbugs after the IOC updated its protocol on Sunday, allowing them to remove their masks for 30 seconds during the podium ceremony.

The organizers have made masks mandatory for athletes, coaches and officials at all times to deal with the COVID-19 threat. The updated protocol, which allows athletes to remove masks briefly, came into effect on Sunday morning.

"It has been decided today, in line with the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks, to adapt the victory ceremony protocol in order to allow athletes to have a physically distanced image on the podium without their masks on for 30 seconds, and a group photo with masks on the gold-medal step," said the IOC in a statement.

"The victory ceremony protocol has been adapted to allow athletes to have an image for the media that captures their faces and their emotions during a unique moment in their sporting career, as well as to celebrate the achievements of all the medallists together." The organizers have taken extreme steps to keep the Games safe in COVID times.

Athletes are being presented medals on a tray and they have to wear those around their neck by themselves rather than a dignitary doing it for them. "At no point during this limited time (photo op) should the athletes be invited to join each other on the gold-medal platform. They must remain on their dedicated platform respecting the original distance.

"The athletes are invited to put their masks back on by a visual sign prior to any other photo opportunity," the IOC added.

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