Sunday, December 5

End of party in Tokyo to say goodbye to the coronavirus Games


Special Envoy to Tokyo

Updated:

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With a riotous end of the party, as if the world were going to end tomorrow, the Tokyo Olympics they have lowered the curtain this Sunday after almost three weeks of competition. Have been 16 days, plus those that there were tests before the inauguration, full of emotions inside and outside the stadiums. Since that July 23, which now seems so far away because so many things have happened, this Olympic event will go down in history as the Coronavirus games.

Held for the first time behind closed doors to prevent the pandemic from spreading even more, they have been a brilliant television show, but, yes, in which the emotion of the public cheering loudly in the stands has been lacking. Despite such a notable absence, which gave a desolate appearance to the stadiums and pavilions, the athletes have once again surpassed themselves with their records and feats. Along with the great organization, it has been the great performance of the athletes, especially the Japanese team, which has somewhat calmed the criticism that the Games had unleashed in this country for being held in the midst of the Covid-19 rebound.

In the opening ceremony, more contained than this end of the party, the protests of those who were demonstrating at its doors could even be heard inside the Olympic Stadium. With the music blasting, that would have been impossible in the closing ceremony even if the protesters had multiplied like loaves and fishes. Something that, in any case, did not happen either because around the enclosure only groups of peaceful curious people congregated, more interested in photographing themselves in front of the Olympic rings on its doors and in seeing a famous athlete than in making a fuss.

For that the athletes were already there, who released the tension by dancing on the track after parading with their flags. As coronavirus restrictions have forced them to leave Japan 48 after competing, the closure was missing athletes from 62 of the 206 participating countries, whose national banners were carried by volunteers. For this reason, many fewer athletes attended this closing than on previous occasions. Although at first everyone wore a mask, many ended up taking it down and even taking off their shirts to exchange them for those from other countries.

Like an Olympic rave, the athletes and volunteers danced to the tune of the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, which even encouraged the journalists present at the Olympic Stadium, the only ones privileged to see this show live together with the members of the different national committees.

During the gala, the marathon medals were also awarded, whose golds were captured by Kenya in its male and female modality, before remembering those who were absent. Introduced by a roll of “taiko” (typical Japanese drum), the tribute to the deceased was performed by the dancer Aoi Yamada, surrounded by red lanterns.

The local flavor continued with four regional dances before taking over from Paris as the next Olympic venue in 2024. The flag was collected by its mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who presented an impressive video where the French capital showed its most youthful, multicultural and modern face, especially with the new sports that will debut there, such as “break dance”. With two medals for Spain, karate did it in Tokyo because Japan is its birthplace, but it will not be present again in Paris 2024. To repeat the success of karate, whose Olympic medal Sandra Sanchez was the standard bearer in the parade, the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) will have to start thinking about break dance practices.

But that is another story and Tokyo’s ends here, with the coronavirus fired in Japan and a ruinous economic inheritance for the year of postponement that caused the pandemic and the lack of spectators in the stadiums. Gone, however, are the records of its athletes, which go beyond sports. “In these difficult times, you have given the world the most precious of gifts: hope. For the first time since the pandemic, the planet has come together around sport. This gives us hope and faith in the future. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are those of hope, solidarity and peace ”, the IOC President congratulated himself. Thomas Bach. A dream come true that, as he highlighted, has been possible thanks to Tokyo and Japan. “We have done it together,” he declared solemnly before declaring the Games of the XXXII Olympiad closed, whose flame slowly died out in the sphere of the cauldron that symbolizes Mount Fuji.

In an Olympiad reduced to three years, its fire will burn again in Paris 2024. Hopefully by then there will be no coronavirus and spectators can return to the stadiums.

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