Tokyo 2020 will host about 11,000 athletes — representing greater than 200 nations — and they are going to be staying in 21 residential buildings.

However, not all of those athletes shall be in Tokyo for the entire period of the Games. Organizers say athletes shall be anticipated to arrive within the Olympic Village 5 days prior to their competitors and depart a most of two days after.

Even in order that presents a major logistical headache for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the native organizing committee.

Added to that’s the longstanding resistance to staging the Olympics among the many Japanese public.

“The recent polls constantly show 60 to 80% Japanese public are opposing the Games,” Satoko Itani, affiliate professor of sports activities, gender and sexuality at Kansai University in Japan, tells CNN Sport.

“Their main concern is Covid-19, but there is also an increasing frustration and anger towards the attitudes and glaring disrespect to people’s lives here by the IOC, the Japanese government, and the organizing committee.”

When contacted by CNN Sport, the IOC referenced president Thomas Bach’s feedback at a press convention in Tokyo final Saturday: “Even in Japan, there was never 100% support of the Olympics Games … this is part of democracy, you will always have different opinions,” mentioned Bach.

He later added that he needed to give the general public confidence within the organizers’ “strict Covid measures.”

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee advised CNN Sport that the Games shall be “especially meaningful as a message of solidarity and coexistence.”

“The world is facing unprecedented challenges including Covid-19,” it mentioned. “This is an opportunity to show the world the approaches that the city of Tokyo and the nation of Japan have taken to solving these problems.”

‘If you’ll be able to’t execute the plan, then the plan isn’t any good’

Thursday noticed Tokyo report 1,979 new Covid circumstances, the best since January 15, and as of Thursday, there have thus far been 91 optimistic circumstances linked to the Games as these arriving in Tokyo endure a rigorous testing program.

“The frequent testing is going to mean that we’re going to continue to see cases as they emerge, which is the way the system should work,” Tara Kirk Sell, a former Olympic swimmer for the USA and now assistant at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, tells CNN Sport of organizers’ plans to comprise the virus.

“The real question that remains is: will these measures be put in place in a way that makes them work? It’s all about implementation. If you can’t execute the plan, then the plan is no good.”

Earlier in July, a choice was made not to have spectators at venues in Tokyo and several other different prefectures, whereas 85% of athletes collaborating have been vaccinated in opposition to Covid-19.

A journalist sits at the Covid-19 testing area of the Olympic media center in Tokyo.

An entire host of countermeasures have been put in place, akin to guidelines round masks carrying, private hygiene, social distancing in and round venues and the Olympic Village — the place most of athletes are accommodated — and an app to log the well being standing of attendees.

Athletes have strict arrival and departure dates round their occasions and might solely depart the village to go to Games venues and different restricted places. Media commitments have additionally been lowered.

Bach has known as Tokyo the “best ever prepared city” to host the Games, and that organizers have spared no effort in ensuring the Games may be held safely and securely.

But public issues stay.

“The spread of the virus outside the ‘bubble’ because of the Olympics has already begun,” provides Itani. “Given the Delta variant is turning into the dominant pressure in Tokyo, this may rapidly escalate.”

Some athletes are additionally having to come to phrases with the devastating information of a optimistic take a look at, both earlier than or after arriving for the Games.

“I am heartbroken … my Olympic journey ends here,” Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs wrote on Instagram this week after testing optimistic in Tokyo. “I am feeling healthy and have done everything in my power to prevent this scenario and took all the precautions.”

‘Virtual cheering’

For athletes competing, the Games will clearly have a really totally different complexion in contrast to others, most prominently due to the absence of followers.

Those seemingly to make headlines over the subsequent 16 days embody American gymnast and defending Olympic champion within the particular person all-around, Simone Biles, American swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, and Japanese tennis star and four-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka.
Simone Biles trains ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games at Ariake Gymnastics Center on July 22.
In athletics, there was a string of latest world information within the build-up to Tokyo, together with Karsten Warholm’s within the 400-meter hurdles, Ryan Crouser’s within the shotput, and Letesenbet Gidey’s within the 10,000-meter, which bettered Sifan Hassan’s world report from two days beforehand.

Skateboarding, karate, sport climbing and browsing have all been newly added to the Olympic program in Tokyo, whereas baseball and softball are returning.

The absence of spectators, which would be the case at 97% of competitions, is an unprecedented prevalence on the Olympics, with “virtual cheering” and a display for followers to ship in selfies and messages getting used as a substitute.

Takeshi Niinami, CEO of Japanese beverage firm Suntory, advised CNN Business that the choice to bar spectators will lead to an “enormous” financial loss, whereas Itani warns that the Games will depart Japan “billions of dollars” in debt.

Athletes may have grown used to Covid-19 countermeasures like repeated testing and venues with out followers, each of which have been in place at sporting occasions all through the pandemic. The circumstances are seemingly to have an effect on all rivals in a different way.

“The thing for athletes is really to try to stick to your routine and stick to your process,” says Sell, who received a silver within the girls’s 4×100-meter medley relay on the 2004 Olympics.

“I think that there will be things that may throw people off. Not having a crowd is going to be strange for a lot of people, but for others, it may just be a lack of distraction and being able to focus more closely on their event. We’ll have to see how it works out.”

As for a few of the athletes who will not be at this 12 months’s Olympics, there shall be notable absentees within the tennis competitors with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal each pulling out by accidents; Coco Gauff had to withdraw after testing optimistic earlier than touring to Tokyo, whereas Serena Williams has determined not to compete.

Some sports activities, together with baseball, softball, soccer and capturing, have taken place prematurely of Friday, the day of the opening ceremony.

After that, occasions come thick and quick. For the subsequent 16 days, it will likely be down to the athletes to attempt to bring light to what has been a troubled Olympics with a sophisticated and protracted buildup.

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