Boxscore: TOKYO, JAPAN (August 2, 2021) – At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where teams from every corner of the globe have converged, most have reverted to their local languages to communicate important tactical moves during the matches.
Swahili which is spoken mostly in East and Central Africa has been of greater use during the games involving Kenyan teams.
In games like women’s beach volleyball and volleyball, men’s and women’s rugby sevens, the Swahili language has consistently been heard aloud as the Kenyan players take advantage of the language barrier to communicate; since no other team in those particular sports speak the language.
Many other languages have been applied by different teams for the sole purpose of communicating without the opponents knowing what is being said.
Some coaches have also developed secret hand gestures for easy communication without the opponents understanding the instructions.
The International Olympic Committee has two official languages, French and English, with five working languages Arabic, German, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese.
The IOC has made it a policy that all the official communication must be translated to all these languages so that everybody feels welcome.
In order to break the communication barriers during the Olympics, the IOC has deployed thousands of translators to help the athletes, coaches, and officials to ease their communication.
However, given the medal stakes and the evolving competition strategies, participating teams seem more than willing to adopt their local languages more and more in order to advance to the final rounds.