Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Held Parallel to Protests

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Despite protests from the Japanese, the 2020 Olympics opened in Tokyo, postponed for a year due to the pandemic. Spectators are not allowed to attend the ceremony and competition. The first case of coronavirus has been detected in the German national team.

Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Held Parallel to Protests

Naomi Osaka lit the fire of the Olympics

The XXXII Summer Olympic Games opened in Tokyo, postponed for a year due to the pandemic. On Friday July 23rd, Japanese tennis player and former world top singles player Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic flame at the National Stadium, and Japan's Emperor Naruhito declared the Games open.

The opening ceremony included a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the pandemic and other disasters. At the traditional parade of athletes, for the first time, the flags of their countries, emphasizing the equality of the sexes, were carried by pairs of athletes, earlier the organizing committee made a corresponding recommendation. Six people spoke the Olympic oath on behalf of the athletes, judges and coaches, each pair was represented by a man and a woman. About 49 percent of the athletes competing in the Olympics are women, the highest in the history of the Olympic movement.

Fewer than a thousand selected guests attended the stands of the 68,000-seat stadium

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach called the Tokyo Olympics the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and announced a moment of hope. He noted that the athletes had to face difficult trials and go through a time of uncertainty, when they did not know if they could continue training and if the Olympic Games would take place. The head of the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympics, Seiko Hashimoto, expressed hope that the games will help unite the world. “The time has come to demonstrate that sport has the power of unification and can give faith,” she said.

Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Held Parallel to Protests

IOC Head Thomas Bach and Organizing Committee Chairman Seiko Hashimoto

The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics took place in almost empty stands. Seating 68,000 spectators, the stadium was attended by about 950 selected guests. Due to the risk of the spread of coronavirus, the presence of spectators is also prohibited in the vast majority of competitions. About 11 thousand athletes from 205 countries and territories, as well as teams of refugees, take part in the Olympics. They are accompanied by about 50 thousand trainers, service personnel, officials and journalists. The number of delegation members was severely limited due to the pandemic.

Protests against the Olympics

Meanwhile, during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, an action against the games was held. Dozens of people protested loudly with whistles and drums, in particular in front of the Tokyo City Hall. The protesters' banners read: “Put out the Olympic flame”, “No to the Olympics”, “Global crime against Japan.” Their screams were also heard at the ceremony, writes dpa. More than 80 percent of Japanese people are opposed to hosting games in their country during a pandemic, according to polls.

Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Held Parallel to Protests

Protests against the Olympics near the stadium

The first sets of medals will be drawn on Saturday, July 24th. Among others, German fencer Max Hartung and cyclist Maximilian Schachmann, as well as shooters, have chances for an award.

First infected with coronavirus in the German national team

Meanwhile, on the opening day of the Olympics, the first case of coronavirus infection was detected in the German national team, a test of 35-year-old cyclist Simon Geschke turned out to be positive. The news of this was received three minutes before the lighting of the Olympic flame. So far, the IOC has recorded 19 coronavirus infected in the Olympic teams.

The Olympic Games in Tokyo will last 16 days and will end on August 8. The Games were originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020. It was decided to keep the name “Tokyo-2020”. Three days before the start of the Olympics, the IOC announced the change in the Olympic motto with more than a century of history and the introduction of the word “together” into it. Thus, the Olympic motto now sounds like this: “Faster, higher, stronger – together” (Latin Citius, altius, fortius – communis).

In connection with the sanctions of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Russian athletes will perform at the Games not under the national flag, but under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). In the event of their victory, not the Russian anthem will be performed, but a fragment of Tchaikovsky's First Concerto. 335 Russian athletes came to the Olympics.

See also:

Pandemic Olympics (22.07.2021)

Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Held Parallel to Protests

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