(WFLA) — The summer Olympics in Tokyo are just months away, and the world is waiting to see what a competition of this size will look like during a pandemic.
Infectious disease specialists say there are certain protocols that need to happen to ensure the games are a go this year.
“This isn’t just four years of training, it’s our entire lives,” said Olympic Beach Volleyball player Alix Klineman.
For Klineman, and the thousands of other athletes hoping to head to Tokyo this summer, competing in the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I’ve waited my whole life, my whole career, for this moment,” said Klineman.
Klineman is on Team USA, which is currently ranked second in the world. While the team’s future for the Olympics looks promising, Klineman can’t help but worry about the fate of the games.
“Obviously when we don’t know what’s going to happen with the Olympics it’s really hard motivation wise, to just keep pushing and stay strong with no tournaments in sight,” Klineman said, but she’s holding out hope that the games will go on.
“The fact that there have been so many other sports that have had a season makes me think, ‘If they can do it, there’s got to be a way for us to do it,'” said Klineman.
“Yeah it’s doable, but the logistics are huge, said Dr. Jay Wolfson, Associate Dean of the Morsani College of Medicine in Florida.
Dr. Wolfson believes that even with a vaccine, holding the games will take a lot of planning and cooperation.
“If you can use the NBA bubble model, then yeah, but the Olympic Village is much bigger than where they were staying in Orlando. And then you have all of these venues that are pretty far distanced around,” Dr. Wolfson said.
Wolfson said routine temperature checks won’t keep the virus at bay, however, wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand washing will be critical, on top of the vaccine and some sort of bubble.
Adding spectators will add even more of a challenge.
“We’re looking to rely on the individuals who are coming to control their behavior. But, you’re talking about tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people participating as observers in various locations. My sense is that if you’re going to do that, you have to severely limit the number of people who can watch. It’s not going to be full stands,” said Dr. Wolfson.
Klineman said she is OK with whatever they require and she is willing to do whatever it takes for a shot at gold in Tokyo.
“If I had to stay in an Olympic bubble, if I had to take the vaccine, I personally would do any of that in order for the chance to compete,” said Klineman.
Japan is reportedly holding 18 test events including swimming, gymnastics, diving and volleyball.
The test events are slated to start in March and run through May.