Usain Bolt Supports Tokyo Olympics Happening Amid COVID Pandemic: 'It Shouldn't Be a Problem'

Usain Bolt, who tested positive for COVID-19 back in August 2020, believes most athletes “will be very professional” about health and safety protocols at the Olympic Games in Japan

Usain Bolt
Photo: Tom Jenkins/Getty

The Tokyo Olympic Games are currently moving forward as scheduled, and Usain Bolt thinks it's the right choice.

Critics have suggested it is unsafe to hold the event as variants of the coronavirus spread rapidly across the globe. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously advised against visiting Japan this summer, including for fully vaccinated travelers.

But former Jamaican track and field superstar Usain Bolt supports Japan's decision to move forward with the Summer Games.

"People have shown that the protocols put in for sports are really getting better. The NBA has been proving that, even before now, and that it can be done," Olympian Bolt told Yahoo! Sports' Jared Quay on Friday's episode of The Rush. "So, for me, I'm happy that the athletes actually got a chance to now compete because … I feel like if they put the right protocols in and everybody [follows] the rules, it shouldn't be a problem."

Bolt, 34, is a COVID-19 survivor himself. The now-father of three contracted the virus in August 2020 but said he remained asymptomatic throughout.

Not all that contract COVID are as lucky, however. As of Friday, more than 3.9 million people have died worldwide from the virus since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Japan has faced its fair share of criticism for its handling of the pandemic in recent months as the country pushes forward with plans to host the Olympics. Still, Bolt believes most athletes will have no issue following any health and safety protocols put in place.

"I think the majority will be very professional because this is what we do for a living and they're all excited to get back to compete because it got canceled last year," Bolt said. "And the fact that it's on now, people are going to be really serious and just happy to be a part of it. So, I know they'll follow the rules."

This will be Bolt's first opportunity to view the Games as a spectator since he began his Olympic career in Athens in 2004. 15 years and eight gold medals later, Bolt is looking forward to watching as many events as possible.

"For me, I never got to watch the Olympics. It was always just 'work, work' for me," he said during the Yahoo Sports segment. "So, for me, just to actually just sit and watch everything. I don't care what's on TV, I'm going to watch."

There is one particular sport Bolt is looking forward to catching, too.

"I've always wanted to watch swimming," he admitted. "I mean, Michael Phelps did some great things in the pool and all I got to see of that was replays or hear about it. It's good to just watch and get to witness it for yourself."

Naturally, Bolt's sights will nevertheless remain on track and field. He is one of many fascinated by Team USA's up-and-coming track star Sha'Carri Richardson, who already tugged on spectators' heartstrings earlier this month during the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon.

Bolt believes Richardson brings "a different vibe to the sport," which he very much welcomes.

"It brings a different energy to the sport," Bolt said to Quay. "She makes me laugh, just her vibe, her energy, and she has a tough story. But she's a tough cookie."

If there's one thing Bolt truly hopes to see, though, it's a broken record — as long as it's not his.

"It's good to see records breaking. Not mine though," he said during The Rush appearance with a chuckle.

To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23rd on NBC.

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