The Tokyo 2020 – now Tokyo 2021 – Olympics have finally kicked off in much pomp and color. The Postponed Tokyo Olympics have come after a year of numerous uncertainties, controversies, and increasing concerns about the safety of the games in the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. The 32nd edition of the Olympic Games has kicked off with an opening ceremony held in Tokyo with no fans in attendance. Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964 and now the country has become a technology powerhouse as seen in a drone show during the opening ceremony. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo 2021 games will not include fans in the stadiums. The move was made after the International Olympics Committee, IOC, in collaboration with the Japanese government decided to hold the games without foreign fans.
With the ranging COVID-19 pandemic and emerging variants of the disease, such as the Delta variant, the city of Tokyo was put in a state of emergency. This meant that even Japanese fans would not be allowed into the stadiums to watch the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. The move came after some fans had bought tickets to view the games in various stadiums, but would now have to settle for viewing the games on television. The Japanese public has been very vocal in their opposition to the commencement of the games with surveys citing that nearly 80% of Japanese people were opposed to commencing the games now and would have preferred that they be postponed or scrapped altogether. The Olympic torch in Tokyo was lit by Naomi Osaka, marking the beginning of the games.
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Despite the stream of controversies facing the games, such as the sacking of the head of the opening ceremony due to a holocaust joke he made twenty years ago, the games kicked off on 23rd July. The games are set to bring together over ten thousand athletes and teams from more than 200 countries to Japan to compete for the coveted Olympic medals. The safety of the players, officials, and staff has been a major concern but the IOC in collaboration with the Japanese government has ensured all the involved parties of their safety. This is despite dozens of COVID-19 cases already having been reported before the games kicked off. The IOC and Tokyo have put in place strict COVID-19 prevention measures with players and their teams constrained to their bubbles to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Numerous players have withdrawn from the game after testing positive for the deadly virus.
The games make history as the first Olympics to be held during a pandemic. The Tokyo 2020, now Tokyo 2021 Olympics will also feature new games and sports. These include sports climbing, baseball, surfing, karate, and skateboarding. These games are set to make a debut at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics and the games will also see the return of softball after 13 years. The games will next be held in Paris, France in 2024, Los Angeles, United States in 2028, and Brisbane, Australia in 2032. We wish all teams all the best and we pray for the safety of all involved parties, including the Japanese people. We are definitely cheering on our very own Kenyan team. Kila la Heri Team Kenya!