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Pandemic Protocols In Tokyo Have Given Us An Adorable New Olympic Tradition

Gold medalists Romania's Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis celebrate on the podium following the women's double sculls final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo on July 28, 2021.
Gold medalists Romania's Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis celebrate on the podium following the women's double sculls final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo on July 28, 2021.

Pandemic protocols have kept Olympic venues primarily fan-free, required extra precautions and testing for athletes and staff and prevented many loved ones from cheering their teams on in person.

But one COVID-19 concession may actually make for a beautiful new Olympic tradition.


Athletes on the podium are helping each other don their medals

South Korea fencers receive the gold medals on podium during the medal ceremony for the men's sabre team gold medal bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe Hall in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, on July 28, 2021.
Mohd Rasfan / AFP via Getty Images
South Korean fencers receive gold medals for men's team sabre fencing at the Makuhari Messe Hall in Chiba City, Japan, on Wednesday.

In years past, dignitaries would place medals around each winner's neck on the podium.

This year, officials are presenting athletes with their medals on a tray, from which they can then theoretically put them on themselves. But with the flowers and the masks, it can be a lot to juggle.

Japan's softball player Yukiko Ueno (4th R) puts the gold medal to catcher Haruka Agatsuma (3rd R) on the podium with other teammates while medal presenter Japan Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita (lower L) looks on during the medal ceremony for the softball competition in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on July 27, 2021.
Kazuhiro Fujihara / AFP via Getty Images
Japan's softball team watches player Yukiko Ueno (fourth from right) place a gold medal on catcher Haruka Agatsuma (third from right) on Tuesday. Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita (lower left) holds the tray during the medal ceremony at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Yokohama, Japan.

So some Olympians are giving each other a hand, in what might just be the most pure example of teamwork at this year's Games.

China's Yang Qian (L) and China's Yang Haoran put on gold medals on each other on the podium during the medal ceremony for the 10m air rifle mixed team during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Asaka Shooting Range in the Nerima district of Tokyo on July 27, 2021.
Tauseef Mustafa / AFP via Getty Images
China's Yang Qian (left) and Yang Haoran put gold medals on each other during the 10 meter air rifle mixed team medal ceremony at the Asaka Shooting Range in Tokyo on Tuesday.


This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.