The Tokyo 2020 Games were perhaps the most emotional and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in history. Sending Team USA to a Games during a pandemic demanded we act nimbly and find new ways to do almost everything.
Throughout the ongoing pandemic, we ensured athletes could train and compete through mitigation strategies and new policies and procedures. We created systems that enabled Team USA to train, travel and compete successfully in an unprecedented environment, while also keeping the greater community healthy. We developed mitigation strategies, including a vaccine policy and routine testing, with guidance and input from National Governing Bodies (NGBs), athletes, the WHO, the CDC, infectious disease experts and chief medical officers from collegiate and professional sports leagues. We also supported the International Olympic Committee’s and International Paralympic Committee’s requests to test international technical officials from the U.S. who planned to attend the Games, with representatives from 15 sports. We continue to evolve our requirements based on the latest COVID-19 guidance.
Susanne Lyons, USOPC Chair
Our COVID protocols, mitigation strategies and trials and events guidance were developed with the sole focus of preserving every athlete’s opportunity to compete in Games that looked like nothing we had seen before.
Collaborative and iterative planning with athletes and NGBs kept training opportunities safe and available with zero outbreaks at facilities or events. When training facilities were temporarily closed, we ensured athletes had virtual training tools, and worked with NGBs, coaches and families to find creative solutions.
Getting a delegation of more than 2,000 athletes and staff to Tokyo and back safely with minimal impact from COVID was unlike any coordination we’ve ever undertaken. Teams across the organization managed both travel arrangements and preventive health measures, all amidst ever-evolving regulations and requirements.
Collaboration between our COVID Liaison Officers and sports medicine teams, as well as NGBs and athlete services helped us implement pre-departure testing, on-the-ground health protocols and COVID mitigation policies leading up to Games. We also reimagined how athletes could have their support system there to cheer them on through our Friends and Family Hospitality Program.
individuals’ travel booked and managed
lodging accommodations provided across 30 hotels around the Tokyo area (in addition to athletes in villages)
pallets of athlete equipment shipped weighing 352K+ pounds
We owe Team USA athletes their moment to compete, whether their performance lasts seconds or through multiple rounds. We were proud to achieve success in mitigating COVID’s impact on athletes at the Games following months of preparation, and when an athlete was considered in close contact with a positive COVID case, we ensured they maintained training capability.
Health protocols didn’t end when the Games did. Many athletes need to maintain wellness for their next competition or event. From training through the Games and back to the U.S., we followed our guidelines and protocols to ensure athletes’ wellness from start to finish.
With athletes’ friends and family unable to attend the Tokyo Games, we looked for creative ways to have them cheer on Team USA and feel connected even from afar, enhancing the experience of athletes and fans alike.
Learn more about how NBC, Toyota and other Team USA partners joined us in creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences during the Games.
virtual reality events
Sarah Hirshland, CEO