IOC tries to reassure Olympic athletes over virus waiver

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A man wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks past a banner for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games on May 11, 2021, in Tokyo. The Japanese government was quick to respond on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 to U.S. travel warning for Americans against traveling to Japan and denied impact on Olympic participants, as the country determinedly prepare to host the postponed games in two months.



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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic athletes were told by the IOC on Thursday that a waiver they must sign releasing Tokyo organizers from liability for COVID-19 issues was “standard practice” for major sports events.

The issue was raised when IOC president Thomas Bach took questions to cap a two-day online conference hosted by the official Olympic commission representing athletes.

“I know this is a concern for a number of you,” Bach said, before asking IOC chief operating officer Lana Haddad to give what he called “an expert’s answer.”

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The waiver is included in the traditional entry form Olympic athletes must sign, which was “updated to include COVID-19 related consideration,” Haddad said.

“This is really to provide transparency and ensure the informed consent from the games participants,” she explained. “The entry forms are consistent with the standard practice of all other big event organizers. And the forms are within the framework of the law, if I may add.”

Athlete groups not formally recognized by the IOC have argued that too much risk and responsibility is being placed on the 11,000 competitors set to take part in the July 23-Aug. 8 Tokyo Olympics. The games will bring tens of thousands more coaches, officials, media and other support workers into Japan.

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