Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo 2020: No fans, no fun - Punch Newspapers

The most widely read newspaper in Nigeria

7/24/2021 7:34:00 PM

Tokyo 2020: No fans, no fun - Punch Newspapers

The most widely read newspaper in Nigeria

Published•Unusual opening ceremony kick starts delayed GamesTheopening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics took place on Friday in a nearly empty stadium after a year-long pandemic postponement and a build-up marred by scandal and controversy.The stripped-back celebration began with a video showing athletes training at home during the pandemic, before fireworks burst into the air above the Olympic Stadium.

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Just a few hundred officials and dignitaries were in the stands of the 68,000-seat venue, including French President Emmanuel Macron, US First Lady Jill Biden, and Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, who will declare the Games open.The Olympics have faced opposition in Japan over fears the global gathering of 11,000 athletes could trigger a super-spreader event, and is taking place under strict virus measures.

Overseas fans are banned for the first time in the history of the Games, and domestic spectators can only watch events at a handful of venues.Athletes, support staff and media are subject to strict Covid-19 protocols, including regular testing and daily health checks. headtopics.com

The restrictions made for an opening ceremony that was far from the usual exuberant celebration.Every athlete entered the stadium wearing a mask, and the national delegations of athletes marching around the stadium were far smaller than usual, ranging from just a handful of people to a few dozen.

The ceremony wove together references to both Japan’s traditional crafts and its globally adored video games, with athletes entering to theme music from famed titles.Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua, making his third Olympics appearance, stole the show walking his country’s contingent out with his perfectly carved body oiled and shirtless.

Team Nigeria’s contingent led by table tennis star Quadri Aruna and wrestling sensation Odunayo Adekuoroye walked the stadium in their traditional green and white, while the athletes billed to participate in 10 sports waved at the empty seats at the stadium.

Naomi Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam winner, was the final torchbearer, lighting the cauldron inside the Olympic Stadium, in what has been seen as a beacon of hope in a Games ravaged by the pandemic.President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, commended the athletes for their perseverance. headtopics.com

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“You had to face great challenges on your Olympic journey,” Bach told the athletes. “Today you are making your Olympic dream come true.” Read more: The Punch Newspapers »

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