Tokyo’s costly new Olympic Stadium will probably be principally empty for the opening ceremony


It is Friday, July 23. The Olympic Video games are about to formally start, and this is what you must know.

It is go time: A 12 months after their scheduled begin date, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (they saved the 2020 branding) are set to start. The Video games formally kick off Friday evening Japan time with the opening ceremony, placing an finish to months of speculation over whether or not the occasion would even capable of go forward as Japan struggles to rein in Covid-19.

Thursday noticed Tokyo report 1,979 new Covid circumstances — the very best every day quantity since Jan. 15. As of Thursday, there have been 110 optimistic circumstances linked to the Video games as these arriving in Tokyo endure a rigorous testing program.

A handful of athletes have seen their desires dashed after testing optimistic for the virus, forcing them to withdraw from competitors. Most rivals spend years, if not most of their lives, coaching to achieve the Olympics — and about 70% of them solely get the chance as soon as, according to Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee.

The dignitaries arrive: French President Emmanuel Macron, whose nation will host the subsequent Summer time Video games in 2024, has arrived in Tokyo for the opening ceremony. First Girl Jill Biden can also be touring to the Japanese capital. She’s scheduled to fulfill with Emperor Naruhito on the Imperial Palace forward of the opening ceremony.

Nevertheless, the variety of dignitaries in attendance will probably be a lot smaller than earlier years. Organizers stated solely 950 VIPs will probably be current in a stadium that may seat practically 70,000 folks. Whereas athletes usually enter the stadium to a crowd of roaring followers, they will as an alternative be greeted by principally empty seats — a stark, visible reminder of the pandemic’s toll.

What’s on schedule: Friday in Japan is fairly mild. There aren’t any medals up for grabs, however archery and rowing have preliminary competitions. The Video games kick off in earnest Saturday morning Japan time, which is Friday evening on the US East Coast. Scroll down to take a look at what occasions are coming Friday US time.

The Video games’ full schedule may be discovered here.