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Protecting olympic participants from COVID-19: the trialled and tested process
  1. Fabio Pigozzi1,2,
  2. Bernd Wolfarth2,3,
  3. Ana Cintron Rodriguez2,4,
  4. Juergen Michael Steinacker2,5,
  5. Victoriya Badtieva2,6,7,
  6. James Lee John Bilzon2,8,
  7. Christian Schneider2,9,
  8. William O Roberts2,10,
  9. Jeroen Swart2,11,
  10. Demitri Constantinou2,12,
  11. Michiko Dohi2,13,
  12. Theodora Papadopoulou2,14,
  13. Mark Hutchinson2,15,
  14. Luigi Di Luigi2,16,
  15. Maher Zahar2,17,
  16. Raymond So2,18,
  17. Fergus M Guppy19,20,
  18. Jean-François Kaux2,21,
  19. Upul Madahapola2,
  20. Sandra Rozenstoka2,22,
  21. Pedro Manonelles Marqueta2,23,
  22. Jose Antonio Casajús2,24,
  23. Sebastien Racinais25,
  24. Konstantinos Natsis2,26,
  25. Irina Zelenkova2,24,
  26. Bulent Ulkar2,27,
  27. Elif Ozdemir2,28,
  28. Francisco Arroyo2,29,
  29. André Pedrinelli2,30,
  30. Mike Miller31,
  31. Norbert Bachl2,32,33,
  32. Michael Geistlinger2,34,
  33. Yannis P Pitsiladis2,20,35
  1. 1 Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome “Foro Italico”, Rome, Italy
  2. 2 International Federation of Sports Medicine, Lausanne, Switzerland
  3. 3 Department of Sports Medicine, Humboldt University and Charité University School of Medicine, Berlin, Germany
  4. 4 Puerto Rico Sports Medicine Federation, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  5. 5 Division of Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine, Ulm University Hospital, Ulm, Germany
  6. 6 Sport Medicine, I M Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russian Federation
  7. 7 Sport Medicine, Moscow Scientific and Practical Center of Medical Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, Moscow, Russian Federation
  8. 8 Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  9. 9 Orthopaedic Center Theresie, Munich, Germany
  10. 10 Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota, USA
  11. 11 UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science an, Universisty of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  12. 12 Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  13. 13 Sport Medical Center, Japan Institute of Sports Sciences, Tokyo, Japan
  14. 14 Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Stanford Hall, Loughborough, UK
  15. 15 Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  16. 16 Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro Italico, Rome, Italy
  17. 17 Medical and Informatical Research and Education, Tunis, Tunisia
  18. 18 Hong Kong Sports Institute, Hong Kong, China
  19. 19 School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK
  20. 20 Centre for Stress and Age Related Disease, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK
  21. 21 SportS2, Liège University and University Hospital of Liège, Liège, Belgium
  22. 22 Sports Laboratory - Physical Health, Sports Medicine and Sports Traumatology Centre, Riga, Latvia
  23. 23 Department of Sports Medicine, San Antonio Catholic University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain
  24. 24 GENUD “Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development” Research Group, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
  25. 25 Research and Scientific Support Department, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  26. 26 Laboratory of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
  27. 27 Sports Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
  28. 28 FIMS Collaborating Center of Sports Medicine, Antalya, Turkey
  29. 29 FIMS Collaborating Center of Sports Medicine, Guadalajara, Mexico
  30. 30 Department of Orthopaedics, University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil
  31. 31 World Olympians Association (WOA), Lausanne, Switzerland
  32. 32 Institute of Sports Science, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  33. 33 Austrian Institute of Sports Medicine, Vienna, Austria
  34. 34 Unit of International Law, Department of Constitutional, International and European Law, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
  35. 35 Centre for Exercise Sciences and Sports Medicine, FIMS Collaborating Centre of Sports Medicine, Rome, Italy, Rome, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Yannis P Pitsiladis, Professor of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Brighton, Welkin House, 30 Carlisle Road, Eastbourne BN20 7SN, UK; Y.Pitsiladis{at}

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The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges to ensure a safe environment for competitive sport. While modern medicine has already developed effective protocols for the treatment and prevention of the disease, there are serious concerns about hosting a sporting event of the scale of the Olympic Games, where more than 11 000 athletes from over 200 nations are expected to participate. Accordingly, there have been many calls to cancel the Tokyo Olympic Games, also known as Tokyo 2020, in both the international press and the scientific literature. A recent perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)1 highlights the complexity and risks of convening the Tokyo Olympic Games during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the many uncertainties,1 much has been learnt over the past 18 months and many policies trialled and tested to protect athletes during sports participation.

A sport and exercise medicine perspective

To develop a rapid understanding of the perspectives from the international sports and exercise medicine community, an informal survey of the International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) Executive Committee, Commissions, and Collaborating Centres of Sports Medicine agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games could go ahead safely based on the plans addressing the pandemic developed by the IOC (figure 1). This international network of 26 research laboratories and clinics has a mission to promote best practice …

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  • Contributors All authors shared the same concerns, took part in the FIMS-organised discussion/email exchange (facilitated by the FIMS Executive and Commissions), participated in a questionnaire to state respective opinions, provided written concerns/comments, helped draft the editorial and approved it.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.