No handshakes if you want Olympic gold

RIA Novosti  / Anton Denisov
The British Olympic Association has warned the country’s athletes that shaking hands could hamper their chances of winning Olympic competitions. They recommend trying, ‘within reason’, to avoid this common gesture.

All is fair in the race for Olympic gold, and every little thing matters. Even a mild illness could give your opponent a competitive edge.

Sportspeople are particularly at risk in the “quite stressful environment” of the Games, says the British Olympic Association’s chief medical officer. According to Dr. Ian McCurdie, a seemingly harmless handshake could shatter the Olympians’ health – so it’s better to go without.

“I think that is not such a bad thing to advise,” Dr. McCurdie says.

“The difficulty is when you have got some reception and you have got a line of about 20 people you have never met before who you have got to shake hands with.”

The advice has been included in a package of health guidelines from the BOA medical team.

Tips for the 550-strong team of athletes and 450 support staff include regular hand washing and the use of a special protective hand foam as an extra barrier.

The British Department of Health says the advice was over-cautious.

“It goes without saying that we should all wash our hands regularly to keep them clean and prevent spreading bugs – but there’s no reason why people shouldn’t shake hands at the Olympics,” the department’s spokesman says.

Well, with less than 6 months to go before the Games kick off, we’ll soon see whether the athletes follow the advice – or wash their hands of it.

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