explainer

This is the first Olympics in the middle of a pandemic. Here's 5 ways it will be different.

For the first time in its 125-year modern history, the Olympics will be held on an odd-numbered year. And that's only the beginning of why this year's Games will be entirely unique. 

The 12-month delay thanks to the coronavirus pandemic has caused a headache for organisers, who have changed restrictions countless times over the past six months in the lead up to the two-week sporting event. 

Tokyo is under a state of emergency at the moment, due to rising case numbers of COVID-19, which will end after the closing ceremony of the Olympics. 

Now the highly anticipated, and equally controversial, Olympic Games are just one day away. Here's five ways it will be different to any other year. 

1. No crowds. 

Due to rising coronavirus case numbers in Tokyo, the decision was made earlier this month to have no spectators at all for any of the games. 

Initially, the plan was to only permit spectators who live in Japan, before organisers announced in June that crowds would be limited to 50 per cent. Now, though, everyone will have to watch from home.   

There will be no crowds at the Olympics this year. Image: Getty. 

3. No alcohol.

As another coronavirus control measure, the organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have banned the sale and consumption of alcohol at any Olympic venues "to prevent expansion of infection".

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If athletes want to drink alcohol, they can only do this alone in their room. The consumption of alcohol is not permitted in any of the common areas. 

The banning of alcohol is not new to Tokyo amid this pandemic. During the city's prolonged state of emergency earlier this year, restaurants were also prohibited from selling alcohol.

4. Athletes will put their own medals on. 

Earlier this month it was announced that successful athletes will put their own medals around their neck, to minimise human-to-human contact. 

"They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself," International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said. 

“It will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on the tray will do so only with disinfected gloves, so that the athlete can be sure that nobody touched them before.”

The Olympics will begin in one day. Image: Getty. 

4. No shouting or cheering.

It may be a celebratory time, but that doesn't mean any celebrations will occur - at least not in the typical sense. 

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For those who are permitted to enter Olympic venues - officials, coaches and athletes - there is a strict ban on any shouting or cheering. 

"People can feel joy in their hearts, but they can't be loud," the head of the Tokyo Games’ organising committee Seiko Hashimoto said. 

The officials have made it clear they don't want any activity that will draw a crowd. 

Everyone will also be required to wear masks at indoor venues and will have their temperatures checked before entering. Anyone showing any COVID-19 symptoms or with a temperature above 37.4°C will not be permitted entry.

5. Condoms are not to be used until the end of the Olympics.

Since the Seoul Games in 1988, condoms have been distributed to encourage safe sex among athletes. At the Rio Olympics in 2016, a record 450,000 condoms were handed out to athletes. 

But this year, only one third of that amount will be given to athletes. That is still 150,000 condoms for 11,000 athletes.

According to The New York Times, the Olympians have been told the condoms are to be used when they are back in their home country and not while in the athlete's village.

Feature image: Getty

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