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1 month countdown: 5 key questions with the Tokyo Olympics rapidly approaching

Opening ceremony is set for July 23

Tokyo's Olympic Stadium will be the site of the opening ceremonies on July 23. (Yuichi Yamazaki, 2021 Getty Images)

Can you believe that one month from today, the Olympic flame will officially be lit to start the Tokyo Olympics?

Having a four-year gap between the Summer Olympics already seems like a long and winding road, but the COVID-19 pandemic delaying it a full year only added to the wait.

But we are officially at the one-month countdown, and with that in mind, here’s an update on where certain issues surrounding the Games stand with the Opening Ceremonies fast approaching on July 23.


Will there be fans in the stands?

Fans can’t travel from abroad and attend events, but Japanese organizers announced Monday that venues can be filled to 50% capacity with a maximum of 10,000 local spectators at events.

Fans will not be allowed to cheer and will have to wear masks, according to ESPN.

If there’s a spike in COVID cases over the next month, then events will be held without spectators.

What is Japan’s COVID situation?

On Sunday, the Japanese government ended a coronavirus state of emergency for Tokyo and eight other prefectures after a spike in cases that started in April, which has since lessened. The vaccination rollout in Japan was late compared to other countries, but it’s starting to ramp up now.

About 7.1 million people, or 5.6% of the Japanese population, has been vaccinated, according to the BBC, while NHK reported workplace vaccinations were slated to start on Monday.

Will athletes be vaccinated?

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said in March that vaccination is not required for participating athletes, but he also has said more than 80% of athletes and officials staying at the Olympic Village are expected to be vaccinated.

It will be a strict and regimented routine for athletes once the Games start, with daily testing and having to stay within a bubble in the Olympic Village. Socializing and group meals won’t be allowed, and athletes will have 48 hours to leave Japan once their event has ended.

Have athletes already started arriving?

Yes. Members of the Australian Olympic softball team starting arriving on June 1, while Ugandan athletes started to arrive over the weekend, which produced some COVID news. A member of the Ugandan team tested positive for COVID-19 and now will have to be in a two-week quarantine.

Is Team USA’s roster set?

There is still some qualifying left to do in signature sports. While the swimming and diving trials wrapped up this past weekend, the track and field trials are still taking place and will conclude on Sunday. The gymnastics trials will also be held this weekend, starting on Thursday and ending on Sunday.

By the end of the weekend, the U.S. athletes who will head to Tokyo should be all but set.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.