PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (WFLA/WOOD) – There’s a lot of fist-bumping going around the Olympic Winter Games lately, especially with the hockey players.
The players were advised they should bump fists instead of shaking hands with their opponents at the end of games to prevent the spread of the highly contagious norovirus.
Shaking hands has been a long-time tradition in hockey. Most players don’t mind if it keeps them healthy.
U.S. defenseman James Wisniewski has been forced to stay away from his 62-year-old father as a precaution, too. His dad was diagnosed last week with norovirus. He is one of 49 of 283 confirmed Olympic cases still in quarantine.
It is highly contagious and can be spread through contaminated food, water, surfaces or close contact with an infected person.
Wisniewski doesn’t want to spread it through the locker room.
“It’s something that you’re like, ‘Ah, really how bad can it get?’ And then all of a sudden bang, bang — a couple people close to you have it and you don’t really know how, you don’t know where,” Wisniewski said Monday.
U.S. players don’t mind skipping the hand-shaking tradition, saying it’s not worth the risk.
They are too focused on winning right now.
“We are taking one game at a time, embracing the challenge,” Wisniewski said. “Every little thing matters, every little detail. If you don’t take care of those little details, you’re the team that’s going to be going home.”
He knows Team USA is there to play hockey, not matter how many games it takes.
“We have to use our speed and our tenaciousness and try to put in more pucks than them,” he said.
Playing for Team USA has been an honor, but being able to say happy birthday to his 5-year-old daughter was even more special.
“She was sitting in front row and you see American flags in the background and I was coming up and wishing your daughter a happy 5th birthday with your nation’s colors on, representing your country, there’s nothing as special as that,” he said.