By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The postponed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, which have been described as being like no others in the history of the Games, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, and other issues affecting them, have finally opened on 23 July 2021.
They are being held, despite a further emergency declared in the Japanese capital, due to the Pandemic, and also despite a majority of the Japanese population being opposed to them.
However, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, welcomed the holding of the Games, stating that they are:
“….. something that our world needs now, more than ever – a celebration of hope.”
“While the pandemic may have postponed the games, it has not defeated them.”
They will largely be held without spectators and likewise the opening ceremony was a scaled-down affair, with only 1,000 officials and important guests in attendance. Also, the creative director for the opening ceremony had been dismissed the day before because of some antisemitic remarks that he made 10 years ago.
The Games were opened by the Japanese Emperor, but the Japanese Prime Minister did not attend.
Some 11,000 athletes from 203 countries are taking part and a new feature at the opening ceremony was that two flag bearers, a male and a female, led their respective countries’ athletes.