IU Olympians belief in COVID-19 precautions | Sports activities
BLOOMINGTON – For Indiana University athletes and coaches, qualifying for the Olympics is the culmination of years, sometimes decades, of hard work.
However, with the Tokyo Summer Games beginning on July 23, concerns are growing about the rise in COVID-19 cases across Japan and whether the events will run smoothly and safely.
1,149 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Tokyo on Wednesday, the majority since January 22. A COVID-19 cluster was reported this week at a Tokyo hotel where Brazilian athletes are staying.
IU diver Andrew Capobianco, a seven-time All-American and Olympic qualifier who will win gold in the 3-meter dive, said Team USA officials are providing regular updates on the status of COVID in Tokyo.
“They just tell us that of course we have to stay in the athletes’ village,” said Capobianco. “After we’re done with the competition, we have to come back 48 hours later. My last competition is on August 4th, if I make it to the final, and then I have to come back on the 5th. So, (I) won’t be able to do graduation ceremonies or anything like that. But I’m just looking forward to getting the job done and experiencing it all. “
Blake Pieroni, a former IU swimmer who qualified for the 4×100 relay, is comfortable going to the Games after being vaccinated this spring.
“We just finished our second Zoom call with USA Swimming discussing all of the procedures. We have to go to our tests before we get on the plane, ”said Pieroni. “Then we are tested when we get out and have to do all kinds of questionnaires and so on. So I am very confident in all of the measures they are taking to protect us. “
IU swim coach Ray Looze, who will be supporting Team USA in Tokyo, said that all swimmers he knew had been vaccinated by the Hoosiers.
“This is good because you will have your phone in Japan and if you are within two meters of someone who is positive and they triangulate these phones, you are gone,” Looze said. “So I feel good about this part of the equation.”
Another precaution that Tokyo is planning for the Games will be holding events without fans.
“Tokyo, it’s going to be tough. You’re locked up in a draconian way, ”said Looze. “So I think the village won’t be that pleasant. But our kids are so tough, they drove everywhere, ponds, drove an hour and 15 minutes to Seymour. I like the fact that we are already battle tested with inconvenience and IU is pretty tough on the tests. We had to be tested three times. It will be in Tokyo every day. But I think we’re battle-tested. “