Olympic medalists can now remove their masks — briefly — on the podium after the International Olympic Committee relaxed its health rules.
Recognizing athletes want to smile and show emotion, the IOC is now letting them have 30 seconds of maskless time for photographs.
The IOC says this acknowledges “a unique moment in their sporting career.”
Health protocols agreed to ahead of the Tokyo Olympics to control COVID-19 infections had required all medalists to keep masks on for the whole ceremony.
The new maskless moments require athletes to stay on their own podium steps. Masks must be back on for group photos on the top step.
Tokyo organizers have reported 127 games-related COVID-19 cases, including 14 athletes, in Japan this month.