Dr Ian McCurdie,the British Olympic Association
(BOA) chief medical officer, claimed that athletes should avoid shaking hands with other athletes and officials as illness is apparently one of the major threats to performance in the "pretty hostile environment" of the Olympic Village.
He claims: "The difficulty is when you have got some reception and you have got a line of about 20 people you have never met before who you have got to shake hands with."
The BOA advises the use of regular handwashing and anti-bacterial hand foam as part of its official advice to the 550 athletes it will take to the Games as part of Britain's biggest ever team.
The BOA director of sport, Sir Clive Woodward, has also advised on the regular use of hand sprays and bacterial detergents
to stop viruses and bugs that could be spread throughout teams, officials, and staff at the Olympics.
Dr McCurdie said: "Essentially we are talking about minimising risk of illness and optimising resistance. Minimising exposure and getting bugs into the system and being more robust to manage those should that happen. Hand hygiene is it. It is all about hand hygiene."
Liz Wyse, the etiquette advisor at Debrett's
, the accepted authority on British etiquette said: "It is the normal English greeting, it is a bit of a sad thing if people are worried about shaking hands in case it spreads disease. It's not very sociable."
There has been an uproar throughout the sporting community, all expressing their outrage at the suggestion they should abandon sportsmanship and normal protocol for such a prestigious event.
Simon Loftus, the Scottish National team head coach for volleyball, said on twitter: "Team GB 'should avoid handshakes' , is Ian McCurdie for real?"