Although every U.S. swimmer has worn a mask while doing interviews with journalists at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee decided to allow unvaccinated swimmer Michael Andrew to not wear a mask -- even as the city of Tokyo is in a state of emergency due to COVID-19.
After finishing fifth in the men's 200-meter individual medley Friday morning, Andrew once again did not wear a mask in the mixed zone where press interviews are conducted, prompting a statement from the USOPC.
When asked why he chooses not to wear 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 continued.
When asked again why he is the only American not wearing a mask, he said, "No reason. I'll throw it on when I'm done here, but to speak, it's difficult, probably people can hear me."
Needless to say, Andrew's antics are not winning him many fans on Twitter.
Swimmer Michael Andrew proved the worst American stereotype when he refused to wear a mask (and refused to get vacc… https://t.co/5W3ifnCKh4— Michael J. Stern (@Michael J. Stern) 1627653671.0
Hey @SwimmerMichael way disrespect the rules and the ghost country. You can choose to not vax.. But not wearing a m… https://t.co/lVOBRB5bve— 💙 StevenSensei 💙 (@💙 StevenSensei 💙) 1627629915.0
Watching @SwimmerMichael not get a medal after refusing to wear a mask or get vaccinated was the best part of the Olympics for me.— charlotte (@charlotte) 1627633138.0
Not only did he decline #vaccination which could not just protect him and his teammates, but now he is not followin… https://t.co/8x4pA8KnQM— Krutika Kuppalli, MD FIDSA (@Krutika Kuppalli, MD FIDSA) 1627644460.0
michael andrew's willful ignorance and disregard for the rules is NOT the same as someone biles' decision to pull o… https://t.co/a3GWD2R2IG— andy (@andy) 1627617768.0
Unlike the GOP, I don’t relish in rooting against Americans at the Olympics, but learning Michael Andrew is unvaxxe… https://t.co/z4Lx8gHy7r— Scott Six (@Scott Six) 1627646925.0