Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games officially open



“I declare the Tokyo Games open”, solemnly pronounced this Friday, July 23, the Emperor of Japan Naruhito during the opening ceremony, in front of an almost empty stadium – about a thousand guests out of 68,000 available places – because of the Covid-19. In a world still under the threat of the pandemic, the ceremony did not have the festive character it normally has, and that it had in particular in Rio in 2016 to samba tunes.

→ ANALYSIS. Tokyo 2021 Olympics: for athletes, Olympics without joy

It is indeed the Covid which dominated this ceremony, between tribute to the nursing staff, with this nurse chosen among the bearers of a huge Japanese flag, a video of athletes training alone, in reference to the competitions stopped dead by the pandemic , and an unprecedented parade of masked sportsmen and women observing, for the most part, the rules of social distancing.

Despite the almost deserted stands, the curtain raiser of these Games of the XXXIIe Olympiad, was also peppered with fireworks, modern dance paintings, technological feats with a terrestrial globe formed in the Tokyo sky by drones and representations of traditional Japanese arts. Shortly before the solemn opening of the Games, 80 French athletes – out of 380 sportsmen engaged in the competition – marched for the opening, with the standard bearer the judoka Clarisse Agbegnenou and the gymnast Samir Aït Saïd.

As the ceremony continued, a demonstration of around 100 people opposed to the organization of these Games took place a few steps from the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

The first title awarded on Saturday

On the sporting level, these Olympics are already historic, since, for the first time, there will be as many women as men to participate in the 339 events on the program, in the name of the balance between the sexes, dear to Thomas Bach. , who also pushed for the inclusion of so-called sports “Young and urban”, such as skateboarding, surfing, 3×3 basketball or climbing.

→ BENCHMARKS. At the Tokyo Olympics, more urban and feminine disciplines

Among the 11,090 athletes registered in Tokyo, no sports icon of planetary dimension, apart from the boss of world tennis Novak Djokovic, but the American swimmers Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky, their compatriot Simone Biles (gymnastics), engaged on all fronts in their sports, can afford an impressive collection of titles and / or medals.

Three years before the next Olympic Games, in 2024 in Paris, the hero of these Games will perhaps be a French colossus: in the land of judo, in the “Temple” from Nippon Budokan, Teddy Riner can become on July 30, at the age of 32, the first three-time Olympic champion in history in the premier heavyweight category. In the meantime, the first Olympic title of these extraordinary Games will be awarded on Saturday morning, in the women’s 10m rifle shooting event. The first of 339 gold medals distributed by August 8.

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