A member of Japan’s gold medal-winning softball team will have her medal replaced by the International Olympic Committee after her hometown mayor nibbled at the memorabilia.
In a Reuters report, Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura can be seen biting the gold medal, a classic celebratory post by athletes, of softball pitcher Miu Goto.
Kawamura, who pulled down his face mask to do the act, was faced with criticisms on social media with most saying that he showed a “lack of respect” for Goto’s achievement as well breaching COVID-19 protocols in the ceremony last Aug. 5.
Ironically, the backdrop used during the photo opportunity was full of COVID-19 safety protocols.
“With support from the International Olympic Committee and in line with her own intention, Ms. Goto’s medal is now set to be exchanged for a new one,” said 2020 Tokyo organizers, adding that the IOC will shoulder all expenses for the replacement.
Toyota, the owner of the Red Terriers softball team where Goto plays for, last week released a statement saying, “It is unfortunate that he (Kawamura) was unable to feel admiration and respect for the athlete.”
“And it is extremely regrettable that he was unable to give consideration to infection prevention,” added the car company in its statement.
The Nagoya mayor has since then issued an apology and vowed to reflect on his “extremely inappropriate” behavior.
Kawamura has yet to give a further statement while Goto has yet to respond about the development.