How the no-spectator Olympics could affect the athletes

“I like to feed off of the crowd,” U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles recently told AP. “I’m a little bit worried about how I’ll do under those circumstances.”

“Hearing [coaches and teammates] talk about the energy from the crowd just sounds really amazing and inspirational and I am disappointed that I won’t be able to experience that,” Valerie Constien, a first-time Olympian in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, told Axios.

The big picture: Past research suggests that the presence of other people tends to enhance an athlete’s performance, but because the Olympics are unlike any other sporting event, psychologists say it’s hard to draw conclusions about how this year’s spectator-less Games may or may not affect athletes in competition.