“I think personally it’s gone a little bit over the top,” Green said of British Olympic Association (BOA) chief medical officer Ian McCurdie’s advice.

“The logic is we need to wash our hands, we need to have a high standard of hygiene which we know the Australian athletes do.

“We won’t be requesting, in any way, our athletes avoid handshaking.

“It’s the way we greet people. It’s an act of friendship on and off the field of play.

“And we hope our athletes will continue the normal practice of good sportsmanship and friendship by that shake of hands.”
Australian athletes joined their British rivals in ridiculing McCurdie’s suggestion, variously describing it as ludicrous, absurd and rude.

“What about every door handle you touch, every bag you have to pick up?” said five-time Olympic kayaker and 1992 gold medallist Clint Robinson.

“That’s just absolutely ridiculous.

“It’s a symbol of having good friendships. It will make their own athletes head-cases.”

Rower Anthony Edwards, heading for his fourth Olympics, was also perplexed.

“It sounds absurd. That’s a bit extreme,” Edwards said.

“At the end of the day we all go out there and race each other to be the best in the world, but you also want to make some friendships along the way.”

Britain’s Olympic champion rowers Pete Reed and Zac Purchase tweeted their disdain.

“Can’t we just carry around a small bottle of hand gel and not be so rude to everyone we meet?” tweeted Reed, while Purchase said the advice seemed a “bit pointless unless u r going to run around with disinfectant 4 every surface you come into contact with”.