Olympics-Japan to douse flame of Olympics reworked by pandemic and drama By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics – The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – July 23, 2021. The Olympic flame is seen lit within the cauldron on the opening ceremony alongside a flag of Japan and the Olympic flag REUTERS/Kai Pf

By David Dolan, Mari Saito and Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan will douse its greater than year-old Olympic flame on Sunday, closing out a Tokyo Video games that had been upended by the pandemic and reworked by the drama of politics, dazzling sport and deeply private turmoil.

Held with out spectators, the Olympics fell in need of the triumph and monetary blockbuster Japan first sought. As an alternative, the host nation is saddled with a $15 billion invoice, double what it initially anticipated, and with no vacationer growth to offset it.

Nonetheless, organisers seem to have prevented the Video games from spiralling right into a COVID-19 superspreader occasion, notable on condition that some 50,000 individuals got here collectively amid the pandemic.

Whereas the bubble of life/sports activities/tale-two-cities-bubble-tokyo-outside-2021-07-29 – the set of venues and accommodations to which Olympic guests had been largely confined – appeared to carry, elsewhere some issues fell aside. Fuelled by the Delta variant of the virus, every day infections spiked to greater than 5,000 for the primary time in Tokyo, threatening to overwhelm its hospitals.

Usually one of many world’s most electrical cities, Tokyo is underneath a state of emergency, depriving it of the manic buzz of an Olympic host or the fervent crowds of its final Olympics in 1964.

Public anger over the pandemic response and a slow-to-start vaccine roll-out have badly broken Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s standing. Public opinion polls confirmed most Japanese opposed holding the Video games throughout the pandemic.

Would-be spectators nonetheless got here out in drive, defying authorities of life/sports activities/crowds-japans-triathlon-fans-defy-spectator-ban-2021-07-31 and blistering warmth to peek in from overpasses as they tried to catch a glimpse of out of doors occasions such because the triathlon or new sports activities akin to skateboarding.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto declined to provide a closing verdict on the Video games till the Paralympics are over, telling a information convention she “could not say at this stage that we’ve achieved 100% success”.

“If we had spectators, we would not have been capable of present a way of security for most of the people,” she mentioned.

Japan’s report medal haul additionally helped take out a number of the sting for organisers. The USA took the highest of the tally with 39 gold medals, another than rivals China at 38 and Japan at 27.

13 gold medals had been up for grabs on Sunday earlier than the closing ceremony, together with within the males’s marathon, received by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge of life/sports activities/athletics-kenyas-kipchoge-wins-mens-marathon-gold-2021-08-08, and girls’s basketball, which went to the US

Japan is because of hand over the Olympic baton to the subsequent host metropolis, Paris, at a ceremony that begins at 8:00 p.m. JST (1100 GMT).

“We will already now say with confidence that we’ve skilled a really profitable Olympic Video games contemplating all of the uncertainties we had the final two years,” Worldwide Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach mentioned earlier than the ceremony.


After a 12 months’s delay and sometimes towards the backdrop of cavernous, almost empty venues, the Video games themselves supplied loads of excessive drama.

That culminated with the defection of Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya who, in a second extra paying homage to the Chilly Warfare of life/sports activities/major-defections-sport-2021-08-05, refused to board a flight dwelling after she was taken to the airport towards her needs.

She has since sought refugee standing in Poland.

U.S. famous person gymnast Simone Biles of life/sports activities/review-olympics-gymnastics-many-twisties-turns-biles-exits-games-champion-2021-08-04 shocked the world when she pulled out of 5 of her six occasions, together with abruptly abandoning the ladies’s group closing after making an attempt only one vault, citing considerations for her psychological and bodily well being.

The 24-year-old spoke with candour about struggling to take care of the burden of expectation positioned on her and made the world conscious of the “twisties”, a sort of psychological block that stops gymnasts from performing their gravity-defying abilities.

Biles in the end got here again to win the bronze on the stability beam within the closing occasion of the ladies’s gymnastics programme, a second of triumph that crystallised her transformation from Olympic champion to advocate for psychological well being of life/sports activities/support-biles-osaka-shows-progress-mental-health-2021-08-08.

In athletics, Italy supplied a special form of shock with their wonderful run. Their wins included a surprising gold within the males’s dash relay of life/sports activities/athletics-on-fire-italy-storm-astonishing-sprint-relay-gold-2021-08-06, taking their athletics gold tally to 5.

In swimming of life/sports activities/review-olympics-swimming-heroes-rivals-records-tokyo-swimming-had-it-all-2021-08-01, the US had been with out 23-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps for the primary time for the reason that Atlanta Video games in 1996, and whereas their gold depend slipped, they nonetheless ended the meet on prime of the medal desk with 30 in complete.

However they had been pushed shut by the Australians who achieved their greatest ever haul of 9 golds and 21 medals general, eight of their titles received by their astonishing girls’s group.

Because the Video games wind up, Japan will now be left to depend the fee. The invoice for the Olympics and Paralympics is predicted to be 1.64 trillion yen ($15 billion), 22% increased than it was earlier than the Video games had been delayed in 2020, and twice as a lot because the 800 billion yen estimate Tokyo submitted in its host bid.

The invoice, which must be absolutely paid after the Video games finish, is most probably to be settled by the Tokyo authorities and the central authorities.

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