No handshakes if you want Olympic gold
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.