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What's life like for athletes inside the Olympics Village in Tokyo?

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Its opening delayed one year along with the actual Games, the Tokyo Olympic Village is essentially a constructed peninsula, with the Tokyo Bay surrounding three sides, in Tokyo's Harumi waterfront district.

Olympic and Paralympic athletes staying in the Village for the postponed Olympics are set for a housing experience that differs compared to past Games, as pandemic precautions will alter traditions that typically take place inside the Village.

Gone from the Tokyo Olympics is the possibility for athletes from different countries to share a meal — athletes have been instructed to eat alone, and clear plastic dividers add another level of separation.

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It's unlikely we'll hear stories of legendary parties inside the Village, a guarantee once athletes finish their events — athletes are encouraged to stay away from crowds.

Those just a few restrictions in place at the Village, according to the latest athlete "playbook" distributed by organizers in June and guidelines distributed to national organizing committees.

"These guidelines form part of the wider countermeasures being put in place to ensure that all Olympic Venues, including the Village, are safe spaces where athletes and officials can prepare for and compete in their competitions serenely," the International Olympic Committee said.

Masks on

Coronavirus fears will dictate the day-to-day operations at the Olympic Village, where 11,000 Olympians and 4,400 Paralympians are estimated to pass through. While inside the Village, athletes are to keep their mask on at all times, other than when: sleeping, eating, drinking, training or competing.

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Mask-wearing is a requirement even while training at the state-of-the art fitness center, where athletes can tune up and cool down. But be sure to disinfect the equipment before and after use.

Additionally, organizers will be tracking athletes' locations, and athletes without a smartphone will receive one at the Village.

New medical facilities

If athletes are staff present a positive antigen test result, they will be taken to the "Fever Clinic." There, they will receive confirmatory PCR tests and be transported to a separate quarantine location outside of the Village if positive.

Athletes will be tested daily while at the Village, and there are designated areas for saliva-vial collection. The IOC has said more than 80 percent of Village occupants will be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Shorter stays

Organizers' goal is to keep athletes in Japan for as little time as possible. Athletes should depart no more than 48 hours after their final competition, guidelines presented to national governing bodies dictate. That applies to team officials as well. There are exceptions (athletes staying to be a training partner, for example).

Still 'a lot going on'

The Olympic Village, given all of the restrictions, remains a hub of activity, thanks to the sheer number of people constantly moving around for training sessions and meals.

"At first I was worried I'd be really distracted by everything," told U.S. rowing team member (women's double sculls) Kristina Wagner. "There's a lot going on. Tons of people in the dining hall. Tons of different colors and countries. But I think that I've been pretty impressed with how the athletes seem to be composing themselves. So I've been trying to take cues from the older athletes, the more experienced ones and just think about one step at a time."

Will condoms still be distributed at Tokyo Olympic Village?

Yes. Organizers said 150,000 condoms will be distributed, but primarily to "raise awareness about HIV and AIDS," according to village general manager Takashi Kitajima. In June officials said condoms will be distributed to the athletes — but not until they’re leaving the Tokyo Games.

Can athletes drink alcohol in the Olympic Village?

Partying (in public, at least) is going to be a no-go. Kitajima said athletes could drink in their rooms.

Eating in the Olympic Village

The two-floor Main Dining Hall is one of the more expansive buildings in the Village.

Menus will be made available through a smartphone app, and diners have been instructed to keep mealtimes as short as possible and leave once finished eating.

"Athletes and team officials who are not competing on a given day should adjust their dining times to avoid busy periods," the latest playbook states.

Signage and floor markings, intended to ensure physical distancing, will be present throughout the main dining hall — open 24 hours per day — and the rest of the Village, when applicable. Diners are asked to wipe down their eating space after finishing, in addition to the full cleaning later performed by staff.

"My least favorite feature is definitely the plexiglass between people in the dining hall," Gevvie Stone of the U.S. women's double sculls said.

There will be a grab-and-go station, but the main departure from past Games is that all food will be served by staff, rather than the usual self-serve style.

More than 700 food options will be offered, from Halal to vegetarian to gluten-free.

One stark change, outside of pandemic considerations: no more McDonald's in the dining area. The company and IOC terminated their partnership after the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang.

Housing in Olympic Village

All buildings in the Village have an indigo blue color scheme, and the residential areas — divided into four sections named Sun, Park, Port and Sea — each have a unique theme color. Flags of different countries adorn the balcony walls of the rooms where athletes will be staying in the apartment-style housing, which will be converted into residencies for local citizens after Paralympic athletes depart in September.

South Korea flags and signage are displayed at the Olympic and Paralympic Village in Tokyo on July 15, 2021, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games which begins on July 23.
South Korea flags and signage are displayed at the Olympic and Paralympic Village in Tokyo on July 15, 2021, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games which begins on July 23.

Twenty-one residential towers, between 14 and 18 floors, provide 3,600 rooms and 18,000 beds with disposable cardboard frames and mattresses made of polyethylene. The cardboard beds were made to be sustainable, but also comfortable, according to Takashi Kitajima, a Tokyo 2020 organizer in charge of the Athletes' Village.

Those beds caused quite a stir when rumors began swirling that they were instituted to discourage intimacy among Olympians, although an Irish men's gymnast disproved that theory.

"This is my first time sleeping on a cardboard bed," U.S. women's water polo goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson said. "It’s not that bad."

"The experience of the Village has been really cool," Johnson added. "We always say that coming to the Village is one of the biggest shows of world peace and it’s so inspiring to see everyone at the top of their games, so ready to compete and so ready to be in this environment."

Apartment sizes vary from roughly 1,200 square feet (110 square meters) that could sleep up to eight individuals, along with smaller units (doubles and triples). Teams will decide how many athletes will sleep in the rooms, likely spreading them out when possible.

Recreation center

It's not all strict rules to follow in the Tokyo Olympic Village. A recreation center provides residents the chance to have some alternate-reality fun.

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Contributing: Olivia Reiner, USA TODAY Network

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Olympic Village in Tokyo: What's life like for athletes these Olympics

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