Great Britain

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Team GB fly flag for Britain in stadium with no fans


JAPAN finally raised the curtain on the Covid- delayed 2020 Olympics with an opening ceremony inspired by hope — in a stadium with no fans.

Just 950 VIPs gathered inside the 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Athletes representing the 206 competing countries marched in the traditional “parade of nations” — with some even waving at the empty stands.

Team GB sailor Hannah Mills and rower Mohamed Sbihi flew the flag for Britain, but just 22 competitors out of our squad of nearly 400 were allowed to take part.

With Covid rates rising in the capital, the £13billion Games opened to a dazzling fireworks display and socially-distanced dance routines in an otherwise eerily quiet stadium.

The number of performers was limited too, so large projectors and LED lights added colour and action. And for the first time the ceremony was mostly focused on specially-made TV segments for viewers back home.

Clips included messages from Olympians past and present accompanied by artists singing John Lennon’s Imagine, which he wrote with Japanese girlfriend Yoko Ono.

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More than 11,300 athletes will be going for gold over the next two weeks. But eight are already out having tested positive for Covid.

And an Australian showjumper was sent packing after testing positive for cocaine.

There will be a record 339 medal events held across 33 sports, including new ones such as skateboarding and climbing.

Team GB are hoping for their best-ever medals haul, beating 67 from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Last night Boris Johnson told them in a video message: “I want you to know, while we can’t be in Japan to cheer you on in person, the moment you pull on that red, white and blue kit, the whole country will be with you in spirit.”

Ghost nation

By Rob Maul, Sun Man in Tokyo

THE opening ceremony was an odd experience.

Unlike the magnificent London roar of 2012, the occasion badly missed the energy of a crowd.

Team GB will do us proud. There will be golds and tears but no partying.

And a typhoon is due on Monday. Let the Ghost Games begin.

Team GB hopeful Tom Daley takes us inside Tokyo 2020's Olympic village

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