Dozens of men and women run across the field in a darkened stadium, keeping their distance from one another. They symbolize all the athletes who have trained in solitude during the pandemic.
The Japanese flag comes into view, borne by a small group of young people and healthcare workers. The national anthem is sung as if in prayer.
The Tokyo Olympics began Friday night the only way they could have, with an occasionally somber opening ceremony acknowledging the ravages of COVID-19 that forced this global sports event to be postponed a year.
With new cases surging throughout Japan and much of the country in a state of emergency, there were no fans and few spectators in the stands, mostly broadcast cameras, officials and reporters watching from the upper deck of Olympic Stadium, a gleaming if largely deserted venue in this city’s fashionable Shinjuku district. Advertisement