Tokyo 2020 Olympics live: Build-up to opening ceremony as Mohamed Sbihi Team GB’s first Muslim flagbearer
The Tokyo Olympics By the Numbers
Millions around the world will tune in to see the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday, which has become embroiled in controversy after the director was forced out just one day before the event. Kentaro Kobayashi was dismissed over past comments that “ridiculed the painful facts of history,” according to Tokyo 2020 organisers, which were in fact anti-Semitic comments made during a 1998 comedy act about the Holocaust. Japanese musician Keigo Oyamada, who has composed the music for the opening and closing ceremonies, has also stepped down amid allegations of previous bullying behaviour resurfaced.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions the ceremony at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium will see athletes from 200 countries parade in an almost empty stadium, in front of around 1,000 officials and dignitaries, rather than 68,000 Ventilateurs. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito will attend and the declare the Olympics, but he will not be joined by any other member of the imperial family. First lady Jill Biden will also be in attendance.“I think It will be a moment of joy and relief when entering the stadium,” said IOC president Thomas Bach earlier this week.
In addition to Friday’s ceremony, there will also be qualifiers in the archery and rowing competitions. Follow all the latest news and updates below.
Athletes who fell in love at 1964 Tokyo Olympics advise participants to make ‘good memories’
Two athletes who fell in love after meeting on a flight to Tokyo for the 1964 Olympics have urged the participants in the Games to make “good memories”.
Cyclist Hugh Porter and swimmer Anita Lonsbrough, who went on to win numerous gold medals as they reached the top of their respective sports, married a year after meeting on the flight.
In an interview with the BBC, the couple shared their wisdom as they asked the athletes to “absorb everything”.
Cyclist Hugh Porter and swimmer Anita Lonsbrough married a year after meeting on a flight to Tokyo for the 1964 Jeux olympiques
Opening ceremony kicks off today
The opening ceremony of Tokyo 2020 is upon us! Coverage kicks off at 11.20pm BST on BBC One as we welcome the Olympic Games back to our screens after five years away.
And what better way to get in the mood for the Games than to reminisce about one of the greatest moments from recent Olympic history?
Here it is.
Olympics rowing: Team GB’s Thornley and Ireland’s Puspure impress
Team GB’s Vicky Thornley and Irish world champion Sanita Puspure have made the perfect starts to their women’s single sculls as the rowing got underway at Tokyo 2020.
Puspure, who won the world title in 2018 et 2019, won her heat by eight seconds as she asserted her dominance on the rest of the field.
And Thornley also outclassed her fellow rivals in her heat, winning by a margin of three seconds.
Murray seeking his ‘best achievement’ of third Olympic gold
Andy Murray insists winning a third Olympic gold medal would be his ‘best achievement’ as he attempts to upset the odds in Tokyo.
The Olympic champion from London and Rio said: “For me, it would be probably my best achievement.
“If I could do that after everything that’s gone on the last years and stuff,” he told the assembled media on Thursday.
“I’m motivated for that reason alone. I still believe I can do that. I still believe that it’s possible.”
A double Olympic gold medalist – but can he upset the odds for a third?
What you need to know about Tokyo 2020
What do you want to know about Tokyo 2020? Check out our guide to the Games where all of these questions will be answered.
- When is the opening ceremony?
- How can I watch the opening ceremony?
- When do the events start?
- What is the schedule for the Games and which sports are involved?
- When do the Games end?
- When are the Paralympics?
- What is the time difference?
The Games will officially get underway at the National Stadium in Tokyo
Controversial Olympic opening ceremonies
Although there have been a few preliminary events, the opening ceremony truly marks the start of the games and often in spectacular fashion. At both the summer and winter games, there is often a lot of anticipation for what sort of show the host city will put on and if they get it right, it can really get the games off to a positive and optimistic start.
pourtant, for all the awe and wonder that the opening ceremony is supposed to inspire it doesn’t always work like that. On more than one occasion technical faults and odd directorial decisions have created talking points and controversy that overshadow the entire event. Here we take a look at seven of the most bizarre and controversial moments:
le 2020 Tokyo Olympics is almost here and it would be an understatement to say that it has taken a long time to get here.
What to expect from the opening ceremony
After such a precarious build-up, the opening ceremony will officially mark the beginning of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Here is what you can expect from the spectacle at the National Stadium.
Who is going to watch the ceremony?
Emperor Naruhito is reportedly due to be the guest of honour but he will be joined by only a handful of VIPs. The respective heads of Toyota and Panasonic, entre autres, have declared that they will stay away due to concerns over the public’s negative perception of the Games. Media will also be permitted to cover the ceremony but members of the public have been barred.
Will the traditional athletes’ parade take place?
Oui, but in vastly reduced numbers. Less than 30 members of Team GB are expected to march, and the confirmed numbers are barely bigger for Australia and Canada respectively. Many athletes with imminent competitions prefer to stay away, but the number of absentees has been swelled by those who have legitimate concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
Why are countries allowed to name two flag bearers?
The decision to propose one male and one female flag bearer was made by the International Olympic Committee in a bid to promote its message of equality. In a statement the IOC said it was sending “an extremely strong message to the world that gender balance is a reality at the Olympic Games”. en outre, nations with smaller delegations have been strongly urged to name at least one male and one female athlete in their squads. It is not mandatory for nations to name two flag bearers; in those that do, the two flag bearers will share one flag.
What form will the ceremony take?
Japanese media say the ceremony will be “solemn”, in keeping with the ambivalent – at best – attitude to the Games in Tokyo, and even that Emperor Naruhito will refrain from using the word ‘celebrate’. That means it is unlikely any big-name musical stars will be flown in for the occasion. Besides, the ceremony has been hit by a series of scandals, culminating in the dismissal of its director Kentaro Kobayashi on the eve of the event due to alleged anti-Semitic jokes he made during a comedy routine in 1998.
Swiss hurdler out of Tokyo Olympics after doping ban
Swiss athlete Kariem Hussein, who specialises in 400m hurdle, is out of the Tokyo Olympics after he was given a nine-month doping suspension.
The 32-year-old tested positive for a banned stimulant earlier this month, the Swiss Olympic Committee said in a statement. “The presence of the prohibited substances nikethamide and the metabolite N-ethylnicotinamide had been demonstrated to the athlete in the doping test. The suspension has been in effect since 16 juillet, 2021, the beginning of the provisional suspension and is effective for all sports and all functions in sports.”
Réagir à l'actualité, Hussein tweeted: “My dream of the Olympic Games in Tokyo is over. I was banned for 9 mois. One lozenge (Gly-Coramin) contained an illegal substance. I made a mistake with grave consequences. I’m so sorry. But if you know me, you know I’ll keep going.”
Twitter has an Olympics emoji
Twitter has also dived into the Tokyo Olympics hype as the social media giant added the Olympics emoji to its platform ahead of the opening ceremony.
The emoji, which looks like an Olive wreath, will be triggered when a user types #Olympics and is available in over 30 different languages.
Olympics Torch Relay concludes in Tokyo
The Olympic Torch Relay has now concluded after a final event at the Citizen’s plaza in Shinjuku city, Tokyo.
A ceremony marking the torch’s arrival in Tokyo was attended by the city’s governor Koike Yuriko and the mayor of Shinjuku-ku, Yoshizumi Kenichi.
Kabuki actor Nakamura Kankuro VI ignited the Olympic Flame on a special celebration cauldron.
The torch will inevitably play a key role in the opening ceremony for the Games later today, when it will be taken from Shinjuku to the Olympic Stadium.