Tokyo Olympics: Closing ceremony marks end of behind-closed-doors Games

Last update on. From the section OlympicsBefore the Olympic flame was extinguished, the stadium was filled with athletes.The Tokyo Olympics were postponed and held behind closed doors due to the Covid pandemic. They concluded in Japan's capital with a happy ceremony.The Games were held without spectators, and the athletes were forbidden from leaving the Olympic village.They were met with opposition from local residents and about 30 protestors clashed with police at the National Stadium just before the closing ceremony.Others, however, have braved the heat to observe events from afar.Despite temperatures of 35C, outdoor events such as triathlon or BMX were enjoyed by fans from overpasses and other vantage points, the hottest temperature ever recorded at an Olympics.Some local fans were unable to attend venues and found vantage points from which they could enjoy events such as the freestyle BMX.Official sign-off for the Games, which featured ska bands and football freestylers as well as breakdancers and BMX drivers, was a hit. It culminated in athletes making a gesture of gratitude to Japan with their hands.Tokyo began proceedings with a scaled-down parade, which left out 62 competing countries, before an air display team painted a French tricolore across Paris's skyline in 2024, Paris being the host city.Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hayashimoto, who was a speed skater, and then a track biker, said to the athletes: "There is no word to describe what you have accomplished.""You accepted the impossible, understood what was necessary, and overcame incredible challenges through hard work and perseverance."She said, "This has made them true Olympians."The athletes had to take daily swabs in order to test for coronavirus. They also had to wear face masks when they weren't training, competing or eating. They had 48 hours to leave the village after they were done competing.Games can produce stars and the unimaginableSimone Biles won three individual golds in Rio 2016 and won bronze at Tokyo on the beam.The Games were delayed one year from their original 2020 date. As the pandemic raged worldwide, Japanese support began to wane. There were unfavorable opinion polls in the previous months and even concerns expressed by Emperor Naruhito about the Games' staging.Japanese spectators were barred from all venues, denying them the chance to see the closing of the summer Games. This was the culmination of eight years of waiting after Buenos Aires won the hosting rights.The Games brought out a flood of stars, as usual. Caeleb Dressel, an American swimmer, won five golds in pool. Elaine Thompson-Herah from Jamaica won three more golds on the track. Gymnast Daiki Hashimoto won two gold medals for her home country in gymnastics.However, moments were unavoidable.Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi, Qatar's Mutaz Barrshim decided to share the high-jump gold instead of competing for the title.After Claire Michel finished last in the triathlon, Claire Michel was consoled by Lotte Miller from Norway.Simone Biles was expected to win a string of golds. Instead, she highlighted athletes' mental health by withdrawing herself from five of six events.In just 180 days, the next Olympics will begin with the Winter Games opening at Beijing on February 4. Paris will host the next Summer Olympics in 2024, just three years after Los Angeles 2028, Brisbane 2032 and Brisbane 2032.Britain matches London's record and sets high goals for Paris 2024Despite lockdowns affecting the build-up, Great Britain won 51 more medals in Beijing 2008 than the 65 they won in London 2012. They finished just two short of their Rio 2016 total.Jason Kenny, a track cyclist from Britain, became the first Briton ever to win seven gold medals. Laura Kenny, a female cyclist who won five gold medals with madison success along Katie Archibald became the most successful female in history.There were also new stars. Tom Dean, aged 21 years, won a pair gold medals in the pool. Bethany Shriever, Charlotte Worthington, and Keely Huggkinson, 19, took BMX titles. Emily Campbell was awarded Britain's first female weightlifting gold.Sky Brown was Britain's youngest ever medallist at the Games' newest sport, skateboarding bronze.Paris witnessed the handover ceremony of the Olympic flag, which was attended by large crowds and aerobatics."The team has made history, but it's probably made history because of the most difficult and challenging environment we will ever face in our lifetime," stated Mark England, Team GB's chef-de-mission."It was against all odds, and I believe it is the greatest achievement of British Olympic history."This is a young and talented team. I am confident they will reach Paris in three years. They will do exceptional work."