The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is reversing course and requiring all Team USA delegates to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
There was no such mandate for the delayed 2020 games in Tokyo earlier this year. Approximately 100 of the 613 athletes who competed in Tokyo were unvaccinated.
The International Olympic Committee has not indicated it will require vaccines for the upcoming games. There was no mandate for the Tokyo Games.
Sarah Hirshland, the USOPC CEO, revealed the organization’s position in a letter to stakeholders on Wednesday, according to Yahoo Sports, citing possession of the letter and an internal document.
Per the document, exemptions could be made for medical or religious reasons, to be determined by an independent third party. Exempted individuals would be held to a stricter standard, including daily testing.
The mandate reportedly will kick in on Nov. 1, at which point it will apply to anyone competing in a Team USA event or entering any of the organization’s facilities.
By Dec. 1, the mandate will cover anybody looking to make the final list of Team USA athletes or staff.
The 2022 Winter Olympics begin on Feb. 4 and the U.S. is expected to send more than 200 athletes.
–Field Level Media