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Athletes of London 2012 for the love of you know what – don’t shake hands!

Yes folks The British Olympic Association’s Chief Medical Officer Ian McCurdie is concerned that athletes might be nice to each other and be true sportsmen and women only to receive deadly infections from each other and ruin our chances of sweeping the medal table.

I know it sounds like I’m joking but actually I’m not. That is what he had to say (albeit with a pinch of paraphrasing). The headline on the BBC Sport website is London 2012: Team GB ‘should avoid handshakes’ at Olympics and the story goes on to quote this guy saying that shaking hands with fellow athletes increases the risk of transmitting infections and therefore shouldn’t be done.

The greatest threat to performance is illness and possibly injury. We are talking about minimising risk of illness. It is all about hand hygiene.’ says Mr McCurdle.

He goes on to say the following later in the piece:

‘Being at an Olympic Games means you are normally inside a bubble and so there is effectively quite a limited number of people that you interact with when you are away in another country.

‘In London we do not believe that is going to be the case. The variety of people the athletes and support staff are going to interact with is going to be huge.

‘At an Olympic Games or any major event the performance impact of becoming ill or even feeling a little bit ill can be significant.

‘Essentially we are talking about minimising risk of illness and optimising resistance. Minimising exposure and getting bugs into the system and being more robust to manage those should that happen. Hand hygiene is it.’

I say that is nuts. Crazy as Patsy Kline would say. Yes his point is valid that infections are often spread through hands but does he want the athletes to wear disposable gloves when opening and closing doors to ensure that they don’t get infections that have been left on door handles?

Give me a break. If this is the kind of world we live in then the world has indeed gone mad. Infection prevention over being a good sportsman or sportswoman, that is what Ian McCurdle thinks but he’s just so far off the mark that he can’t even see the mark.

The Olympics are about celebrating what is good and right with the world of sport and not shaking someone’s hand because you might get an infection from it is certainly not what is good and right about the world of sport.

Sometimes I just cant believe people either a) think these things or b) saying say them out loud.

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