Two Georgian judoka out of Oympics after leaving village

Two Georgia judo medalists have been stripped of their accreditation after breaking COVID-19 protocols by leaving the Olympic village, according to AFP.

Vazha Margvelashvili and Lasha Shavdatuashvili each took silver earlier this week, Margvelashvili in the 66 kg division last Sunday and Shavdatuashvili at 73 kg on Monday. Both reportedly decided to leave the village to meet “one of their good acquaintances” in Tokyo:

“When they went outside of the village, no one stopped them at the exit. So they thought that they could go outside,” the official told AFP.

“They wanted just to have a bit of open air, to relax after a tough day of competition, after a tough lockdown period.”

According to Kyodo News, both athletes were seen Tuesday night in their Georgian team uniforms taking photos near Tokyo Tower with several other people.

Because their respective events were completed several days ago, both judoka have already left Japan to return home, so it’s unclear if they will face any actual consequences. Tokyo Games spokesman said the pair can no longer access Tokyo 2020 facilities, but that was pretty much already true because of COVID rules requiring athletes to leave no fewer than two days after their competition.

This is the first time any athletes have been punished for breaking the Games’ stringent COVID-19 protocols, which effectively enforce “bubble” rules by forbidding athletes from leaving their Olympic village accommodations except to train or compete.

Despite those measures, the Olympic village has still seen positive COVID-19 tests, perhaps an inevitability when more than 10,000 athletes are being tested daily.

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