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Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will hang medals around their own necks in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as Japan attempts to quash a surge in new COVID-19 cases. The country entered a state of emergency last week, and Japanese people have protested the government's decision to move forward with the games.

  • The Olympics will be held without spectators as part of the effort to respond to the coronavirus uptick.

What they're saying: Bach said the move is a "very significant change" in an international media call on Wednesday, AP reports.

  • In traditional ceremonies for the 339 events, IOC members or officials in a sport's governing body present competitors with the medals.
  • This year, "[i]t will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on the tray will do so only with disinfected gloves," Bach said. "They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself."
  • No handshakes nor hugs will be permitted during the ceremony, but Bach said an "immersive sound system" will use crowd noise from previous Olympic events and video to re-create the atmosphere.

Go deeper

Sep 28, 2021 - Sports

Simone Biles: I should have quit way before the Tokyo Olympics

Team USA's Simone Biles with her Olympic bronze medal during the women's balance beam final medal ceremony at the Tokyo Games in Japan. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Simone Biles said she "should have quit way before" the Tokyo Olympic Games, per an interview with New York Magazine published Monday.

The big picture: The 24-year-old U.S. gymnastics great opened up to the magazine about the expectations on her in the leadup to the Tokyo Games and the impact of the abuse by former Olympic Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who's now serving a 40– to 175-year prison term for sexually abusing young athletes.

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.

Mike Allen, author of AM
46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Third Way: "Big Lie" could become "Big Coup"

Graphic: Third Way

Third Way, the center-left think tank, is urging fellow Democrats to respond to the Capitol riot with "the size, scope, and seriousness of a presidential campaign," co-founder Matt Bennett tells me.

Driving the news: "For the first time in U.S. history, a party must mount two parallel presidential campaigns: one to win the election, and the other to prevent its theft," Bennett said, calling this "a Paul Revere moment."