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Tokyo 2020: Simone Biles takes social media by 'storm'

Bengaluru, July 19: The Tokyo 2020 edition will be the first Olympics to be held under new normal -- masks, social distancing, severe restrictions on movement within the Games Village and hotel rooms, no shaking hands and hugging while celebrating, food to be consumed in one's own room and family interactions to be reduced to virtual platforms.

Against this backdrop, athletes like Simone Biles are taking to social media to vent their ire.

It all started with the champion American gymnast putting out a message on social media saying, "Tell me a secret - I'm bored."

According to a report in Reuters new agency, her 4.4 million Instagram followers responded with everything from personal problems to how they skipped school, prompting the 24-year-old to dish out life advice and reactions accompanied by candid selfies.

A message reading, "I've one of my closest friends muted on Instagram cause she posts the dumbest things," got an earnest Biles looking straight at the camera and agreeing, "Me too. Sometimes it's needed."

Others said they had lost their sense of smell, received a secret inheritance and were getting surprise presents for their mothers. One person even confided that they were pregnant - to which Biles responded with a big grin and "Congrats!"

But some messages were more serious.

"I still haven't told my dad I'm gay even though everyone else in my family knows," wrote one person.

A pensive Biles responded: "Tell him, be free, be yourself. I support you," adding: "For anyone else struggling with telling family or friends, just know I will always welcome you with open arms on my page and platforms."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - postponed for a year - are being held under strict protocols, including daily virus tests for athletes, to prevent any further spread in a country where most people have yet to get a vaccine and still want the Games cancelled or postponed again.

Tokyo 2020: For media, it is the most restrictive Olympics everTokyo 2020: For media, it is the most restrictive Olympics ever

Journalists accredited for the event are also having a tough time, with their movements being strictly restricted.

There is also a long list of requirements they must follow including daily testing and phone location sharing.

The 2020 Tokyo Games will begin without fans on Friday (July 23) and will go on till August 8.

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Story first published: Monday, July 19, 2021, 13:15 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 19, 2021