Five-time Olympic medalist and gymnastics superstar Simone Biles and other athletes are expected to compete in the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. However, if and when they do, their fans from home will not be allowed to cheer them on in person.
Olympics organizers announced on Saturday, March 20 that international spectators will not be allowed to enter Japan for the event due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The rapid spread of the virus around the world resulted in the postponement of the Games last year. Vaccines have begun to be distributed internationally in recent months. Still, there are fears of additional waves, amid the emergence of new variants of COVID-19.
“Currently, the COVID-19 situation in Japan and many other countries around the world is still very challenging and a number of variant strains have emerged, whilst international travel remains severely restricted globally,” read a statement on the Tokyo Olympics website. “Based on the present situation of the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from overseas.”
The statement continued, “In order to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, the parties on the Japanese side have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to enter into Japan at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This conclusion will further contribute to ensure safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public.”