Unvaccinated US Olympic swimmer Michael Andrew won't be punished after refusing to wear a mask during interviews

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Unvaccinated US Olympic swimmer Michael Andrew won't be punished after refusing to wear a mask during interviews
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Michael Andrew.
US Olympic swimmer Michael Andrew. Tom Pennington/Getty Images
  • Unvaccinated US Olympic swimmer Michael Andrew will not have to wear a face mask during interviews, an Olympic committee ruled.

  • The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee told USA Today that athletes competing in the games can take off their masks for interviews.

  • Andrew refused to put on a mask Friday following the men's 200-meter individual medley.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

US Olympic swimmer Michael Andrew, who recently said he is not vaccinated against the coronavirus, will not have to wear a face mask during interviews, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee ruled.

The committee, citing COVID-19 safety protocols released in June ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said that athletes competing in the games can take off their masks for interviews, USA Today reported Friday.

Andrew refused to put on a mask in the mixed zone - where reporters speak to the Olympic athletes - following the men's 200-meter individual medley Friday.

Andrew told USA Today that he wasn't wearing a mask because he didn't want to affect his breathing.

"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," Andrew said.

Initially, USOPC told USA Today: "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."

The committee then backtracked, saying Andrew "has been reminded of the Games policy and established COVID mitigation protocols," and that he is permitted to not wear a mask during interviews, according to USA Today.

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