Athletes denied the chance of competing in a gold medal match at this yearís delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo due to a positive COVID-19 test will be replaced but will not leave empty-handed, it has been confirmed.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) sports director Kit McConnell said the contingency plans, outlined in the third edition of the "playbook", aim to "keep the integrity of competition" and ensure athletes are not disqualified for contracting coronavirus.
It could see athletes who have to withdraw from a final due to COVID-19 in sports which take place over a longer period of the Games, such as tennis or badminton, be awarded a silver medal.
While a series of measures will be put in place to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 at the Games, McConnell has revealed that the IOC has developed a strategy to help International Federations respond to the potential disruption of a COVID-19 case to their competition.
McConnell acknowledges that each sport will have "slightly different rules" to deal with COVID-19 but says the IOC has developed a plan, called "Sports Specific Regulations", along with all 32 IFs to ensure there is a "degree of consistency" when making decisions on coronavirus cases.
"We have come up with key principles which we communicated last week at the IOC Executive Board meeting," said McConnell.
"All these reflect the fact that we are looking to keep the integrity of competition and keep the competition schedule and formats as planned."
Under the strategy, an individual unable to compete due to a positive coronavirus test would be classed as "did not start" rather than "disqualification", with McConnell insisting a COVID-19 case "it is not necessarily the fault of the athlete or the team".
"If an athlete has to withdraw, then their place would be made available by the next highest ranked and eligible athlete," said McConnell.
"Depending on the competition format and scheduled, a replacement team would move into the empty space, for example the quarter-final or semi-final.
"The team that could not take part in the semi-finals would be replaced, if possible, by the team that that they played in the quarter-finals.
"In the final point of that jigsaw, athletes and teams should not lose the minimum result that they would have obtain.
"If the athlete was not able to compete in the final and would have receive a diploma for their participation, they will receive that.
"If an athlete would have taken part in a medal event but cannot, they will receive the minimum level of medal they would have received for example in a final.
"They will receive a silver medal if they canít take place in a gold medal final and thatís really important from our perspective to reflect the minimum level of that athlete or team would have achieved.
"You cannot imagine what the athletes had gone through over the last 18 months to deal with training schedule with international travel and reaches this level of competition.
"We need to support and reflect the performance of the athletes."