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A quiet Olympics begins in Tokyo


Naomi Osaka, a tennis player born in Japan and raised in the United States, prepares to light the Olympic Cauldron in Tokyo on Friday. Associated Press/Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth

A quiet Olympics begins in Tokyo

Masked athletes from around the world waved at empty seats on Friday. Japanese Emperor Naruhito declared the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games a year later than planned. Local residents clustered around the barricades surrounding the national stadium as the opening ceremonies portrayed the Games as persevering despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Is it safe to hold the Olympics? At quiet moments during the ceremonies—including a time of silence for those who have died from COVID-19—the shouts of protesters calling for the event’s cancellation made it into the stadium. The planning committee banned fans from the Games and instituted strict rules for international travelers coming to participate. But some people in Japan say it’s not enough. Of the 110 Olympic-accredited individuals who have tested positive in Japan since the beginning of the month, 13 are athletes.

Dig deeper: Read Ray Hacke’s report about athlete protests at the Olympics.


Rachel Lynn Aldrich Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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