Tokyo Olympic athletes required to sign waiver over health and heat risks ahead of games

Japan Times -- May 30
The organizers of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics plan to require athletes to acknowledge that they may face health risks or death caused by coronavirus infections and intense summer heat if they compete in the games, a document detailing conditions for participation showed Friday.

The International Olympic Committee has included such risks in a waiver that must be signed by athletes, stipulating that they take part in the games at their “own responsibility,” according to a copy seen by Kyodo News.

The waiver is unusual as the IOC did not specifically mention such risks in the waivers for the Summer and Winter Games held since at least 2008, even though some took place amid fears of infectious diseases and air pollution.

The last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 were staged when many were worried about the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which led several athletes to withdraw from the games. In 2010, the Vancouver Winter Olympics went ahead despite concern over the global outbreak of the swine flu.

During an online conference attended by Olympic officials and athletes on Thursday, Lana Haddad, the IOC’s chief operating officer, said the entry form for the Tokyo Games has been “updated to include COVID-19 related considerations,” when addressing worries raised by a member of the U.S. athlete committee.

- Japan Times