The British Olympic Association’s Chief Medical Officer; Dr. Ian McCurdie has said that athletes should avoid physical contact while greeting rivals and visiting dignitaries at the Olympic Games because it could spread germs.
The British Government is however, not so sure about Dr. McCurdie’s advice, going as far as to say that they are “perplexed” by it.
“It goes without saying that we should all wash our hands regularly to keep them clean and prevent spreading bugs. The avoidance of shaking hands with others is not necessary however,” – the (UK) Department of Health said in a statement. The USA – who are bringing the largest delegation of athletes to London 2012 have stated that they have “no intention” of issuing warnings to their athletes regarding handshakes.
On Twitter, 2008 Olympic champion rower Zac Purchase said the advice seemed a “bit pointless unless u r going to run around with disinfectant 4 every surface you come into contact with”.
When asked about the original statement; Dr. McCurdie stated: “After all the effort these athletes go through to make the Olympic Games; the last thing they want is to have their performance adversely affected in anyway – particularly by something which is as avoidable as picking up a virus from somebody else’s hand. Most athletes will only get a chance at one Olympic Games and they all will want to be able to give it 100%.”