The 2020 -Tokyo Olympics games got underway following a colorful opening ceremony held in a stadium with out fans due to the rampaging global novel Covid -19 pandemic . The Ugandan team dressed in national colours
The ceremony in the 68,000-capacity stadium took place before just a few hundred officials and dignitaries, including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, French President Emmanuel Macron and US First Lady Jill Biden.
The emperor will officially declared 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. Organisers have put strict virus measures in place, banning overseas fans for the first time ever, and keeping domestic spectators out of all but a handful of venues.
Athletes, support staff and media are subject to strict Covid-19 protocols, including regular testing and daily health checks.
Traditionally a highlight of any Summer Games, featuring the parade of nations and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, Tokyo’s opening ceremony has been drastically pared back. Fewer than 1,000 dignitaries and officials are present at the stadium, and in a sign of how divisive the Games remain, several top sponsors including Toyota and Panasonic are not attending.
But Olympic officials have put a brave face on the unusual circumstances, with IOC chief Thomas Bach insisting cancellation was never on the table.
“Over the past 15 months we had to take many decisions on very uncertain grounds,” he said this week. “We had doubts every day. There were sleepless nights.
“We can finally see at the end of the dark tunnel. Cancellation was never an option for us. The IOC never abandons the athletes… we did it for the athletes.” Back in the sporting arenas, a new generation of Olympic stars are looking to shine after a decade dominated by the likes of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps.