“My initial thoughts are that the lack of fans will be weird for some of the athletes, but at the same time, many of them likely have competed in similar circumstances before, albeit not at that level,” Kirk Sell said. “When I did the World Cup circuit in swimming, it drew a large number of international swimmers. But the crowd was almost entirely domestic.”
Still, the silence may be jarring to some athletes and could be a factor in the upcoming Olympic Games.
“While some [athletes] might often get a boost from a frantically cheering crowd, there are others who perform just as well as or better than normal without the distraction,” she said.
The IOC has put the kibosh on cheering — along with hugging, high-fiving and hand-shaking, but not clapping — at the Olympic Games that take place July 23 to Aug. 8 and the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.