To shake or not to shake, that is the question. British Olympic athletes have been warned about the dangers of shaking hands with their worldly opponents at the 2012 Olympic Games.
The British Olympic Association’s (BOA) chief medical officer said that the athletes should avoid shaking hands within reason. Dr Ian McCurdie said:
“At an Olympic Games or any major event the performance impact of becoming ill or even feeling a little bit ill can be significant… Essentially we are talking about minimizing the risk of illness and optimizing resistence. Minimising exposure and getting bugs into the system and being more robust to manage those should that happen.”
The British Government, however, doesn’t want its athletes to showcase poor sportsmanship at the London Olympics. The Department of Health released a statement saying that all athletes should be conscience of their hygiene and should wash their hands often, but they shouldn’t refuse to shake hands with other athletes. The Department of Health said:
“It goes without saying that we should all wash our hands regularly to keep them clean and prevent spreading bugs. But there’s no reason why people shouldn’t shake hands at the Olympics.”
The BOA later clarified its stance on Olympic handshaking by tweeting: “Do shake hands, do use hand foam, do wash your hands, do reduce the risk of catching a bug. It’s all common sense…”
The San Francisco Gate reports that the US team is being encouraged to “embrace the spirit” of the Olympic games and to interact with athletes from around the world. USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said:
“We always encourage our athletes at the Olympic Games to embrace the Olympic spirit and meet, greet and interact with as many different athletes from as many nationalities as possible.”
Do you think athletes should be encouraged to shake hands or will it put them at risk of getting sick?