The Summer Games were postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and despite deep public concern about whether the imminent arrival of athletes, staff, sponsors, media and other participants will trigger another surge of infections, the world's biggest sporting event appears to be on track.
But it won't look or sound like any Olympics that have come before it.
The COVID-bruised Summer Games will kick off with what organizers have said will be a scaled-down, even "solemn" opening ceremony. The central message from the Olympic planners and government officials in Tokyo has been to reassure jittery Japanese residents that the event won't compromise public health.
In a bid to make good on that vow and keep crowds under control, organizers announced this week that plans to serve beer at venues were being reversed. Alcohol will be banned, after a fierce pushback from health officials, even within the government.
In the next few days, Olympic organizers have said they'll issue strict guidelines for the limited number of domestic spectators allowed into the events, including mandatory mask wearing and a ban on vocal cheering and high-fives. Fans will have to clap instead of yell, likely making this the quietest Olympics in history.
A hint of the difficulties ahead came with the arrival of Uganda's Olympic team. Despite Uganda saying the entire group had been fully vaccinated, a coach tested positive and has had to go into quarantine. Anger erupted after the other team members were allowed to continue on to training camp, despite being close contacts.
The strain of managing the pandemic and the Olympics sent Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike into hospital on Tuesday, suffering from severe fatigue. The city administration didn't confirm her visit to the hospital, but local officials said she would be taking the rest of the week off work to rest.
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