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Spectators Barred From 2020 Tokyo Olympics Ahead of Opening Ceremony

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The emblems of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are displayed during an event to unveil the medals, podium and music to be used for the medal ceremonies at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on June 3, 2021. (Issei Kato/POOL/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

By Anthony Clark Jr.

After a year-long postponement, the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be Friday, July 23.

Olympic organizers banned international spectators from attending the events and were intending to allow 50% capacity for domestic spectators (10,000 maximum). However, with a surge of COVID-19 spreading throughout Japan, the country declared a state of emergency on July 8 through Aug. 22 – subsequently barring any spectators from the games.

Even with no fans, COVID-19 has spread amongst the community of athletes. An extensive list of Olympians have entered health and safety protocols or tested positive for the virus, thus creating further difficulties for national teams and individual athletes.

“The world is faced with great difficulties… we (Japan) can bring success to the delivery of the games,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to International Olympic Committee (IOC) Members.

Roughly 600 of the over 11,000 Olympians will represent the United States. Five of those athletes competed for the University of Michigan in the 2020-21 academic year: Myles Amine (wrestling), Patrick Callan and Jake Mitchell (men’s swimming), Maggie MacNeil and Mariella Venter (women’s swimming).

Five sports (with the exception of baseball and softball recognized as one) will make their debut in this year’s Olympics, including baseball, karate, skateboarding, softball, sport climbing and surfing.

“The five (sports) are an innovative combination of established and emerging youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

The first medal events will take place on Saturday, July 24, headlined by archery, (road) cycling, fencing, judo, shooting, taekwondo, and weightlifting. Viewers can watch events on NBC, CNBC, NBC Sports Network, or Peacock streaming service.

More information regarding the Olympics can be found here.

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