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10,000 volunteers left; Tokyo Olympics open in 50 days


Nearly 10,000 of the 80,000 unpaid volunteers for the Tokyo Olympics have told organizers they will not take part in the July 23 Games

About 10,000 of the 80,000 unpaid volunteers for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have told organizers they will not participate when the Games begin on July 23.

Organizers said some people pulled out due to concerns over COVID-19. Few volunteers are expected to be vaccinated as most will have no contact with athletes or other key personnel.

Organizers said the defeat would not affect the conduct of the postponed Olympics.

Unpaid volunteers are a major workforce in running the Olympics and save organizers millions of dollars in salaries. Volunteers typically receive a uniform, cover the day they work, food, and daily commuting costs. They pay for their accommodation.

A study conducted for the International Olympic Committee on volunteers at the 2000 Sydney Olympics stated that they were worth at least $60 million for 40,000 volunteers.

To mark the 50 days, the organizers unveiled the podium, costumes and music that will be used during the medal ceremonies. Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto again promised that the Olympics would be safe for the athletes.

Support for the Olympics in Japan continues with 50-80% – depending on how the question is phrased – saying the Games should not open on 23 July.

Tokyo is spending $15.4 billion to officially hold the Olympics, and several government audits say that’s too much. Except $6.7 billion, everything else is public money. The IOC’s contribution is about $1.5 billion.

Japan has attributed just over 13,000 deaths to COVID-19, which is less than most comparable countries but higher than many Asian neighbours.

On Thursday, the Japanese Football Association said a member of the Ghana team had tested positive upon arrival in Tokyo. The player was separated from the team and kept in quarantine.

Earlier in the week, Jamaican footballers were unable to travel to Japan due to coronavirus testing issues. He was to play friendly with the Japanese national team.

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More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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