The International Volleyball Federation has just announced its 2021 calendar, which includes a new multi-tournament event - the Cancun Hub - designed to enable players to seek Tokyo 2020 ranking points in conditions minimising travel risks during the pandemic.
The world’s top beach volleyball players will thus visit this Mexico resort to compete at three back-to-back 4-star events on April 16 to 20, 22 to 26 and April 28 to May 2.
In these COVID times, every sport is wracking its brains to make competition work, to keep sport active.
It’s a hugely strong instinct - counterbalanced by the hugely strong instinct for caution and survival. The balancing act goes on, and is unlikely to end soon, despite the rising comfort of vaccination.
Will the conflict between safety and sporting ambition be settled by the time of the re-scheduled Tokyo 2020 Games? All good by July 23? How wonderful that would be. But surely not.
And so we will be into the land of playbooks, which sound such fun but are in fact not. Which sound so safe and sensible but may not in fact be enough. Although what is enough? What will enough be for the Tokyo 2020 organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC)?
No COVID positives? That’s not going to be the case. No serious illnesses? No deaths? Not too many deaths?
More than 2,000 foreign workers have reportedly already perished in Doha during the construction of the stadiums that will host next year’s FIFA World Cup finals. Is that too many or...?
Speaking in today’s virtual 137th IOC Session, the newly re-installed IOC President Thomas Bach outlined an offer made by the Chinese Olympic Committee to make vaccine doses available to participants at the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Games.
"The IOC will pay for these additional doses of vaccines for the Olympic and Paralympic team," Bach said.
"For each of these additional doses, the IOC will also pay for two doses more that can be made available to the population in that country."
Why the latter offer?
Would that be a conscience-salve for prioritising fit and healthy young people ahead of older and more vulnerable people so that the Games May Go On?
I wonder how those athletes who have already turned down the idea of "jumping the queue" would feel about this new proposition? Genuinely I wonder.
If this offer is taken up, how can it be justly observed? Will every athlete get the benefit of it, assuming they want to?
If not, won’t we be talking about a two-tier Games, where the top level of athletes are all sorted, and the others, perhaps from smaller and farther flung nations, well, they’ll just have to hope they don’t get a positive?
By the by, another newsline emanated from Mr Bach today. He apparently wants to change the Olympic motto.
"We learnt during this coronavirus crisis the hard way that we can live up to our Olympic slogan Faster, Higher, Stronger in sport and in life, only if we are working together in solidarity.
"I would today like to inspire a discussion whether we should not complement this by adding after a hyphen, the word 'Together.'"
The phrase faster, higher, stronger was, history tells us, coined - in its Latin version of citius, altius, fortius - by Father Henri Didon, a friend of the man credited with bringing the modern Olympics into being, Pierre de Coubertin.
Didon used the phrase to round off an inter-schools athletics meeting.
Coubertin adopted it as a motto for people who "dare to try to break records." He was apparently struck by the succinctness of the phrase.
To add the word "together" is a truly awful idea that doesn’t even make any sense. You can’t be higher, faster, stronger together. If you’re together you’re not higher, faster or stronger than anyone else.
The Olympics, despite the recent ersatz addition of mixed relays, are essentially about daring individual efforts. If you want together you should be at the FIFA World Cup.
Why try to hang a clunking 21st century accoutrement on an antique? Isn’t another term by acclamation, where people are thanking you for allowing them to be the first people to congratulate you, enough?
On the more basic matter of human safety, Bach has spoken with much reason about the big picture with four months to go until the re-scheduled Games.
"The many World Championships that have been held during these recent weeks and months are proof that sport can be organised safely and successfully, even under present restrictions," Bach said.
"Here our thanks go to the International Federations who have organised over 270 major sporting events, meaning World Championships or World Cups, since September 2020.
"Cumulatively, these events have involved over 30,000 athletes.
"All of them had rigorous health and safety protocols in place, including extensive testing regimes, which far exceeded 200,000 tests.
"Not a single of these events turned into a virus-spreader.
"We have clear and obvious proof that very big international sport events with a large number of international participants can be organised while safeguarding the health of everyone.
"This fact is even more significant because none of these events could benefit from vaccinations.
"In contrast, we are now in the very fortunate position that several vaccines are already widely in use.
"A considerable number of Olympic athletes is even already or about to be vaccinated in time for Tokyo.
"This situation will continue to improve greatly the closer we get to the Opening Ceremony."
This is fair comment.
But on the same day these remarks were made the recently-held European Athletics Indoor Championships in Poland were monitoring an unwelcome aftermath of COVID-19 positives among athletes and officials, despite noble and stringent efforts to test and monitor and re-test before, during and after the event.
The event was glorious in one sense - the first multi-discipline Championships to be held in athletics, four days of welcome excitement, drama, controversy, joy, despair - the works.
But alas, a price has been paid in the form of some COVID-19 positives that currently leave two French team officials and four female Ukrainian athletes in quarantine in Torun and have obliged the returning British and Irish travelling parties to quarantine for the mandatory 10 days.
It also left one very unhappy Belgian athlete who was prevented from taking part in her 60m hurdles semi-finals because of a COVID-19 test she claims was a false positive.
Fingers crossed there will be no further positives, and no serious consequences.
But the unfolding events of the last few days have made it clear that, unless everyone involved in Tokyo 2020 is vaccinated, there will inevitably be COVID positives, quarantines and further scares at the very best.
Albeit that other World Championships have been held since the pandemic took its grip, these Championships, it can be argued, are the ones most like an Olympics.
And as has been pointed out in the wake of the latest news, if this has happened at an event involving fewer than 750 athletes, what might occur at an event that will involve 14 times more competitors?