IOC relaxes health rules, says medalists can remove masks on podium for 30 seconds

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TOKYO — The faces of victory will be a bit more visible for the rest of the Tokyo Olympics.

On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee relaxed its health rules and said medalists can remove their masks on the podium for photos — for 30 seconds.

This, says the IOC, 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.

But it’s not all freedom and exposed mouths from here on out. Athletes have to stay on their own podium step. And group photos on the top step? Masks back on, please.



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