Monday, September 27

Tokyo opens an Olympic Games marked by the covid

An athlete was running on an elastic band. A cyclist was pedaling on an exercise bike. A T-shirt pretended to shovel the water. All alone, distanced, absorbed in their effort, united by the invisible thread of technology. SimilarIn his artistic way, he has immediately stared at the elephant in the room during his inaugural gala. They are the Games of the disease, the masks and the isolation. There was no reason to ignore it and that is how the organizers of the ceremony have declared it inaugurated. Olympic Games most stressful of the history of Olympism.

The ceremony began by depicting the unusual preparation that athletes have had in this extra year before facing the Olympic exam. Elegant and traditional dances, oriental colorism, but at the same time somber, framed the contrite tone of the message. There was even a minute’s silence for the victims of the COVID-19. There was hardly any applause, in a sign of the unusualness of these Games. Less than a thousand guests composed of authorities and dignitaries presided over by the Emperor Narahito and the maximum representative of the IOC, Thomas Bach they occupied the boxes and stands of the stadium. Strange sensation, mark of these Games turned into an exhausting fight against adversity.

Naomi osaka, the symbol of sport in Japan, the tennis player who recently got off Roland Garros In order not to have to speak to the media, he was in charge of lighting a cauldron protected by an open capsule like a flower. The last act of an uneven ceremony, which came back after a start so muffled that sometimes, in moments of silence in the enclosure, the citizens gathered outside the Tokyo Olympic Stadium could be heard. It is not known if they were protesting the Games, the most expensive in history, or to see something, whatever. The presence of the athletes, in a parade pumped by music from Japanese video games, apparently very popular there, should change the tone of the ceremony. He barely made it. The feeling of fictitious enthusiasm prevailed.

Without the essence

World sport has become accustomed to matches with empty stands but it was necessary to hear the emotions in the Games. And it would seem that a ceremony without an audience absolutely loses all its essence. Perhaps that is why the complete choreography proposed by the Japanese Organizing Committee was as minimalist as a haiku, lacking in bombast. As if it were their way of paying their respects for human losses in times of universal pandemic. The most impressive, in the final section, the use of 1824 drones drawing the Earth in suspension over the stadium; the funniest, the pictograms representing all sports.

Athletes did their part in trying to give the day Olympic bliss. With or without an audience, it is the summit of the sports careers of most of them. All of them rejoice in the parade and in the greetings directed at the cameras. Who else? The delegations generally seemed smaller than usual (except for the US).

“Let’s celebrate the moment”

Spain appeared with Saúl Craviotto and Mireia Belmonte as standard bearers, a tandem for the first time. Tonga, as in the last three editions, paraded led by the oiled Peta Taufatofua, from Taekwondo. And the Russians, without the right to an anthem and flag for state doping, rallied behind the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee.

The words of the emperor and the lighting of the cauldron finally set in motion some Games that have been made to wait like no other.

Japan yearns for a truce from the pandemic, may sweat and competition magically slow down the advance of the virus. Almost a hundred borrowers have already tested positive and it is feared that the current progression will last. Uncertainty, then, still hangs over the Tokyo appointment, which one way or another intends to reach August 8.

‘Faster, taller, stronger and together’, says the beautiful motto of these Games. And the most difficult, without a doubt.

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This is how EL PERIÓDICO recounted the opening ceremony.

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