LAUSANNE — There will be no “bubble” for media covering the Tokyo Olympics this summer, to ensure the safety as well as the flexibility of journalists, said Lucia Montanarella, head of Olympic Games Media Operations of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) said.

During an open discussion on Tuesday, Montanarella told journalists from over 110 countries and regions organised by AIPS that covering the Tokyo Olympic Games will be very challenging.

“It’s practically impossible to create a bubble including the media, because they will not be inside the Olympic Village but will be staying in different hotels. We are doing whatever we can to make sure that whoever wants to travel to Tokyo will cover the Games,” she said.

The meeting was held one day before the meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board between July 23 and August 8.

Montanarella underlined that covering the Games will not be an easy task for journalists and photographers.

“We redesigned the venues and all the press areas have been adjusted for the requirements of physical distancing: two meters from athletes and one meter from the rest of the stakeholders. By applying these restrictions, we obviously lost an enormous capacity of media positions, especially for photographers.”

On February 4, a playbook with all the regulations and restrictions for the accredited press will be presented by IOC. On February 10, an online briefing with IOC members will take place to discuss these measures.

Montanarella said AIPS created four scenarios to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic for this summer’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games.

“We felt that we needed a real crystal ball to figure out how the world would be in 15 months,” said Montanarella.

“We created four different scenarios, one that had travel restrictions, clusters, to one where the pandemic was nearly gone. The present scenario is very much like one of those that we’d created, with the pandemic still among us,” she added.

“Sports events are taking place, athletes are training and competing, but we know that we are facing a huge challenge, that is to create a bubble for all athletes.”

More than 280 journalists attended the online meeting with AIPS.

Working under the unpredictable trajectory of the pandemic has been a learning process for everybody, and as Montanarella described some of the challenges as a learning process, she also envisioned the joy of the first day in Tokyo. “I will be in tears, for sure,” she concluded.

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