Sport Team USA will mandate vaccination for Winter Olympic athletes

04:55  23 september  2021
04:55  23 september  2021 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

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Every Olympian or Olympic hopeful who was asked about COVID-19 vaccines at a media event on Wednesday said they either had been vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated before the Games begin in July. A few indicated that most or all of their teammates would get vaccinated as well. The last thing you want to do is get sick before or during the Games.” The ultimate vaccine incentive. Olympic organizers won’t mandate vaccination . USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said they won’t even track it. And she acknowledged last month: “I absolutely expect that there will be Team USA athletes who do

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The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee will require athletes hoping to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 1.

USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland announced the new policy in a letter to stakeholders on Wednesday. The letter and an internal document, both obtained by Yahoo Sports, clarify that the policy also applies to coaches, staffers and "our full Team USA delegation at future Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The International Olympic Committee did not mandate vaccination for the Tokyo Olympics this past summer, and has not indicated that it will introduce a mandate for the Winter Games in Beijing. Initial versions of its COVID-19 countermeasure "playbooks" are expected next month.

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Many NOCs have secured vaccines for overseas athletes living in their territories through their national programmes. For example, the Government of Thailand, with the coordination of the NOC of Thailand and IOC Member Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, helped with the vaccination of overseas swimmers who are currently training at the International Swimming Federation (FINA) training camp in Phuket, Thailand. Additionally, the IOC has received an offer from the Chinese Olympic Committee, the host of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 to assist in making vaccines available.

The Olympic festival, its athletes and delegates, and registered media and broadcast teams will be flowing into and around into Japan in late July. Even if Tokyo reduces the infection rate to a more manageable level in time for opening ceremonies, allowing thousands of unvaccinated Olympic athletes and their support staff can be seen as "essential workers," in that their participation in the Games can be seen by the world as a sign of good things happening in a bleak time. As IOC President Thomas Bach said, they can "lead by example … and send a powerful message that vaccination is

The USOPC also did not require Summer Olympic participants to be vaccinated, and roughly 100 of Team USA's 600-plus athletes competed in Tokyo while unvaccinated.

But Hirshland, citing "strong support" for the mandate from the USOPC's athlete council and sport-specific governing bodies, wrote: "This step will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff, and allow us to restore consistency in planning, preparation and service to athletes."

In the internal document, the USOPC said it will grant "exemption from the vaccine requirement for a legitimate medical reason or because of a sincerely held religious belief," but not for prior infection. Applications for exemptions will go "through an independent third party" and will be "reviewed on a case by case basis."

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The uniforms Team USA will don as they step on the medals podium in Tokyo Olympics this summer will be partly made from recycled shoe parts, Nike revealed this week. American athletes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will wear the Vapormax, made using 75% recycled manufacturing waste by Nike. Each color and material were inspired by a view of piles of waste from a distance, mixing different textures, colors, and shapes together to form the new Nike Air Vapormax 2020, according to Nike.

The new order, revealed by the White House on Thursday ahead of a speech by Biden, will affect roughly 100 million American workers. Earlier, White House officials told the media that Biden has also signed an executive order making vaccination obligatory for all 2.5 million federal More than 177 million Americans are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, but vaccine efficacy wanes with time, and the Delta variant of the virus has been shown to infect the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. Despite the resilience of the Delta variant against vaccination , Biden’s administration has discussed making

The document, though, indicates that unvaccinated athletes who receive an exemption could be subject to stricter protocols, and a separate FAQ says that they will be required to undergo daily COVID testing while with Team USA.

Without an exemption, they would not be allowed to attend the Olympics, irrespective of the IOC's policy.

And for Team USA staffers, "failure to comply with the vaccine requirement may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment," the document states.

The mandate takes effect in stages, and on Nov. 1 applies to anybody entering a USOPC facility or taking part in a Team USA event.

A month later, on Dec. 1 — and two months before the Olympics, which begin Feb. 4 — it will apply to "all individuals on the long list for the Beijing Winter Games," including athletes, if they wish to participate.

The USOPC will send over 200 athletes to the Games, but many more will attempt to qualify. Anybody in contention will be on that "long list," and will be subject to the mandate.

Hirshland, in her letter, wrote that she had been hopeful, months ago, that the USOPC "would be lifting our COVID-19 restrictions by the time" the Tokyo Olympics finished. At the beginning of July, case counts in the U.S. had fallen below 15,000 per day.

They have since grown exponentially, to well over 100,000 per day.

"The stark reality," Hirshland wrote, "is that this pandemic is far from over."

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This is interesting!