TOKYO (AP) — Like any other Olympics, the Tokyo Games created its share of indelible moments — runners lunging across the finish line, swimmers reaching for the wall, athletes standing on podiums with medals around their necks.
The most lasting images from the 2020 Games — held in 2021, of course — will be those that underline the once unimagineable circumstances surrounding them.
Reminders are everywhere that these will forever be remembered as the Pandemic Olymipcs.
A last-minute rule change allowed athletes to remove their masks for a podium photo-op with their medals, but the face coverings had to be quickly restored. Thus the awkwardness as American dressage riders Adrienne Lyle, Steffen Peters and Sabine Schut-Kery fiddled to get their masks back in place.
Masks, of course, are everywhere. Gymnastics judges eyed competitors carefully over top of them. British archer Bryony Pitman attached one to the arrows in her quiver. Volunteers at every Olympic venue have offered friendly assistance without being able to show guests their smile.
Disinfection has become an around-the-clock effort. Officials in gloves sanitize the volleyballs, wipe down the table tennis surface and spray down the corners of the boxing rings.
Signs of the strangeness remain even after the action stops in the form of discarded masks left on walkways and streets.
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