There are cries of ‘one rule for us, another rule for them’ from Olympic veterans left furious at what they perceive to be the double standards of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Many of those landing in Tokyo are subject to three-day quarantine and are served aeroplane-style breakfasts, complete with plastic cutlery, which they must eat in their hotel rooms.
For other meals, they are permitted 15 minutes to head out and buy something from a convenience store (with security staff on reception timing their movements) or order a take-out to their door.
Athletes waiting for Covid tests at Narita airport in Tokyo, while the big wigs get luxury living
However, IOC members at the five-star Okura in central Tokyo appear to be permitted to stroll into the swanky venue’s restaurant, where chefs prepare personalised meals and table service is enjoyed, regardless of how long they have been in the country.
That includes those who have flown in directly or transited from the UK.
An IOC spokesperson said they were abiding by Olympic playbook rules.
GOLD FOR TEAM GB BASE’S COVID SAFETY
Team GB cannot be accused of failing to take Covid seriously in their multi-storey apartment block at the athletes’ village.
Every door handle and lift button have been covered in self-sanitising tape which is said to have the same anti-bacterial powers as six months of bleaching the surfaces.
Meanwhile, Team GB are being assisted by a Japanese-speaking Italian at their Keio University training campus in Yokohama.
Giovanni is looking after transport and logistics. Insiders say the affable Florentine is so polite that he has not even mentioned the European Championship final.
CEREMONY MUSIC CHIEF KEEPS JOB DESPITE SCHOOL BULLYING
As if Olympic organisers did not have enough to deal with, it has emerged that the man in charge of music at Friday’s opening ceremony saw fit to brag about bullying children with impairments while at school.
Interviews from 1994 and 1995 re-emerged online in which Keigo Oyamada laughingly admits to the horrific bullying of two class-mates with apparent disabilities.
‘I apologise from the bottom of my heart,’ he said in a statement this week.
Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto responded: ‘We were not aware of what he had done in the past. However, we have heard an apology and we are hoping that he will continue to contribute to the Tokyo Games.’
BBC SHELL OUT ON COVID WELFARE
The BBC have paid for Covid officers to monitor their staff’s every move in Tokyo. The IOC have asked each media outlet to nominate a Covid liaison officer and the BBC have brought in an external company to ensure compliance with restrictions.
Meanwhile, television crews from various broadcasters have sent out two teams in case one group is forced into quarantine. ITV appear to have scored the best facilities among the UK press and are living the high life in posh suites at the Hilton.
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘We take staff welfare very seriously and are working closely with the IOC on all aspects of safety in Tokyo — standard practice for all major events.’
NO SPACE ON THE BUS FOR REPORTERS
Reporters have no option but to take accredited buses from hotels to the media HQ at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition centre.
With many still to arrive, certain buses are already packed, with standing room only and zero social distancing. ‘If anyone on this bus has got it, we’ve all got it,’ one veteran hack remarked.
TAKING THE KNEE WITH A SIGH OF RELIEF
The early confirmation of Team GB’s women’s footballers taking the knee ahead of their matches will come as a massive relief to the British Olympic Association, given the anti-racism gesture will be the first moment broadcast from the Games.
Before the IOC’s recent loosening of restrictions for athlete gestures, some feared controversy would descend almost immediately.
The Team GB women’s football squad, who have agreed to take the knee before matches
HORSES DON’T TRAVEL CATTLE CLASS
Plenty has been made of the stressful journey into Tokyo, with several hours of immigration checks following the 12-hour flight.
However, there were no such hold-ups for Team GB’s equine competitors, who took a more scenic route to the Games. The British team’s horses came via Dubai on an 18-hour flight to Tokyo, which takes longer due to the lower altitude.
WAVING THE FLAGS… TO NOBODY
Officials from Team GB are hopeful around 50 athletes will attend the low-key opening ceremony.
Spectators have been banned from attending on Friday evening, but athletes will still been seen by one of the world’s largest TV audiences for the event.
DON’T TAKE THE ‘WEMBLEY VARIANT’ HOME
Such has been the extent of the Covid outbreak among Metropolitan Police officers who attended the Euros final last Sunday that cops have started jokingly referring to the ‘Wembley variant’.
Fans at Wembley for the Euro 2020 final – police officers joke it created its own Covid variant
CRICKET THE SAVIOUR… FOR RUGBY LEAGUE
The India cricket team have emerged as the potential key to the rugby league World Cup taking place as planned this autumn.
Tournament officials have been working closely with the Indian cricket board to determine how the players’ Covid protocols should operate during the competition, as India’s players have been able to operate with a degree of freedom in England ahead of next month’s Tests.
STARTING THIRD ON THE GRID
There were raised eyebrows within Formula One after the BBC again relegated the British Grand Prix from their flagship radio stations.
The Open was on Radio 5 Live, with the England v Pakistan T20 cricket on 5 Live Extra.
Sources have disclosed that the decision to put Lewis Hamilton and Co in third place on their grid did not impress everyone, despite the move to set up a temporary pop-up channel called BBC R5L Formula 1.
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘As this was an exceptionally busy sporting weekend, we launched a temporary digital station so F1 fans could hear uninterrupted coverage of the British Grand Prix.’
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR FOR TISDALE
Paul Tisdale was a surprise candidate who came close to being appointed England Under 21 manager.
The former Exeter boss made the two-man shortlist before the FA chose to appoint Lee Carsley, as revealed by Sportsmail.
BACK-PEDALLING NOT YET AN OLYMPIC SPORT
Readers will recall how journalists were warned by Tokyo organisers that their every action would be followed by the public and — should they be spotted failing to abide by Covid rules — they would be filmed and shamed on social media.
When questioned about the message, Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto was quick to apologise for any offence and suggested the message may have been lost in translation.
Sports Agenda is happy to report the reception is as warm as expected from the public.
WADDLE-ING OUT THE DOOR
Chris Waddle told the BBC where to stick it when they asked him to cover the England v Italy match.
Chris Waddle told the BBC he wasn’t interested in covering the Euro 2020 final for them
It had been thought they decided not to use the former England winger, a mainstay of Radio 5 Live’s England coverage.
However, it has emerged that Waddle has grown frustrated at what he perceives to be increasingly shoddy treatment. He is understood to have watched the match in a pub and it is not known whether he will be back, another sad indictment of the broadcaster’s lurch to mediocrity.
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘We asked him to be part of our commentary team for the final, so it was not our decision that he wasn’t.’