TOKYO – One of the most obvious changes to the Olympics this year is the lack of fans in the stands. It’s the first time spectators will not be allowed to attend.
Experts said that while the lack of spectators may be a disadvantage to some athletes, it could actually help others. Sports psychologist Dr. Scott Goldman spent the last three years working with the Detroit Lions. He said being on the sidelines with no fans was very different.
“It was just bizarre. You could hear everything. You could hear your opponent, you can hear the other side. But I think the thing that was missed the most was the energy, the energy of the stadium,” Goldman said.
With the massive Olympic venues sitting empty, players must find that energy elsewhere. Alex Morgan, a U.S. Soccer team player, said people should expect to hear more encouragement from teammates.
“Honestly, we’re going to have to rally each other and you’re going to hear the players on the bench. You’re going to hear each other so much more clearly,” Morgan said.
Goldman said the situation will be most difficult for athletes who are more externally motivated by the fame and attention. Those who are more internally driven by their love for the sport are more likely to take it all in stride.