BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhua) — July 23 will see the delayed Tokyo Olympics finally roar into life.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the world of sport was forced to adjust. Major leagues and sports competitions around the world were forced to be canceled or postponed.
In the last 12 months, the world has seen the postponement and then the slow return of competitive sports.
Now in 2021, normality finally seems to be returning.
As vaccines begin to roll out on an industrial scale, the once silent stadia of major sports leagues are beginning to fill with spectators once again. The delayed 2020 Euros are currently in full swing and fans are finally able to cheer their teams on in person, or indeed, lament their poor performances.
The Tokyo Olympics represents an important moment in the last year and a half.
One month out, athletes from all corners of the world are preparing for the moment that some will have been waiting for their whole lives.
For the athletes going to Tokyo, all will think they have a chance – no matter how small – of winning those rarest of things, an Olympic gold medal.
It remains a constant point at every Games, from the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 to Tokyo in a month.
Yet, this Olympics will be unique.
The modern Olympics is usually defined by the coming together of fans and athletes worldwide. However, this year we will be without international fans.
A slow vaccination process in Japan, combined with an ongoing battle to suppress the number of COVID cases, means this will be the first Games without international fans in attendance.
However, while fans may not be there in person, they will be there in spirit. Glued to screens, cheering at home, in fan-zones and in pubs, while not in Tokyo for the Games, the passion will remain the same.
Because one thing remains, and that is the athletes and the moments they make.
From the magic of Jesse Owens in 1936, to Abebe Bikila winning the marathon running barefoot in Rome 1960, to Michael Phelps’s extraordinary eight golds at Beijing in 2008.
We may not have as many fans on site as expected, but will have the same inspirations that we have at every single Olympic Games.
This year we will have more opportunities than ever before to find those inspiring stories.
With a record number of events and disciplines on show, Tokyo will still be able to make history.
Brand-new events such as surfing and rock climbing make their debuts in a month and join old favorites such as athletics and cycling.
Skateboarders, once prosecuted by overzealous police in America, will join the pantheon of elite sports on the global stage. For some skateboarders, as well as surfers and sport climbers, the Olympics used to be a distant dream, now they can all share in the glory that the Games provides.
This edition of the Games, like so many before it, will see the creation of new stars and icons for people to follow.
Who will become Tokyo’s Usain Bolt or Simone Biles?
We will find out in just one month.