Even with Tokyo being in a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unvaccinated Olympic swimmer Michael Andrew is refusing to wear a mask during meetings with the press.
In the Tokyo playbook of COVID-19 protocols, as stated by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee in June, athletes are not required to wear a mask during interviews.
However, every other athlete has worn their masks except for Andrew.
According to USA Today, Michael Andrew is labeled the "highest profile unvaccinated American Olympian" out of the 103 unvaccinated athletes participating in the games this year.
He refused to wear a mask when entering the mixed zone after a fifth place in the men's 200-meter on Friday morning.
When asked why he wasn't wearing a mask, Andrew said:
"For me it's pretty hard to breathe in after kind of sacrificing my body in the water, so I feel like my health is a little more tied to being able to breathe than protecting what's coming out of my mouth."
"I think it's great that there's procedures, but at the end of the day, all of us here have been under quarantine and in the same testing protocol, so there's a level of safety (that's) comfortable when we're racing."
He was then asked again why he refused to wear a mask, but his reply changed.
"No reason. I'll throw it on when I'm done here, but to speak, it's difficult, probably people can't hear me."
Earlier in July, Andrew said to the media he was unsure of how his body would react to the vaccine and he didn't want to interrupt his training for the games. Though, he also said he doesn't plan on getting it in the "distant" future either.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is reviewing Andrew's refusal to wear a mask.
They sent this comment to USA Today after seeing their tweet:
"Not wearing a mask is a violation of the COVID mitigation protocols put in place by both the USOPC and TOCOG (the Tokyo Olympic organizers)—protocols we have been adamant in following as a delegation."
"We are currently reviewing this matter with the National Governing Body and will take action as needed."
However, the USOPC then backtracked saying Andrew "has been reminded of the Games policy and established COVID mitigation protocols" but will not be required to wear a mask during interviews.
Though the USOPC didn't have much else to say, Twitter sure had a lot of comments.
It seems there is no end to controversy over the Tokyo Olympics.