In 1964, the last time Japan hosted the Games, the country was riding high on postwar optimism and economic development. This year, the Games are essentially closed to the public, and many Tokyo residents are fleeing a scorching-hot city that has spent weeks under a state of emergency.
At least 91 people with Olympic credentials have tested positive, including 10 athletes, a rash of cases that raises thorny questions about testing. Only 950 spectators will be at the opening ceremony, which will happen in a stadium that was built for the Olympics and able to hold 68,000.
Tensions go beyond the pandemic and heat. The day before Friday’s opening ceremony, organizers fired its creative director over a 1990s comedic act in which he made fun of the Holocaust. The previous creative director resigned in March over comments about a plus-size woman. Follow along with our live updates here.
Men’s soccer: The Mexican men’s soccer team, which won gold in the 2012 Olympics, thrashed France, 4-1. Brazil trounced Germany, 4-2. Other soccer surprises abounded: Australia beat Argentina, 2-0, and Spain tied Egypt.
Softball: The sport was cut from the Olympic program after the 2008 Beijing Games. It’s back, but fans are frustrated that the sport will play on baseball fields, which are larger. And the top-ranked U.S. team needs all the runs it can get if it’s going for a gold.
Politics: Tommie Smith, the U.S. track star who raised his fist on the medal stand in 1968, weighed in on organizers’ plans to allow some forms of protest from athletes. And although the Games have reached gender parity for the first time, real equality remains far from reach.
Courtesy – NYT