Today in a few words: rather than the calm before the storm, the start of Tokyo 2020 so far looks more like the storm before the storm, with Covid-related disruptions in the camps and a host of issues of the organizers' own making.
Key moments of tomorrow: there will be some sport, but all eyes will be on what will be one of the ceremonies of strangest opening in Olympic history, as Tokyo puts on a huge spectacle at theworld in a stadium that people are encouraged to stay away from.
You would not have liked the construction - until the Tokyo Olympics on your worst enemy, would you? As the week progressed, the news for the organizers seemed to get worse and worse, either sponsors too embarrassed to be associated with Tokyo 2020 , the resignation of composer Keigo Oyamada from the opening ceremony , quickly followed by the sacking of director Kentaro Kobayashi for a 1998 Holocaust joke , and a constant procession of athletes withdrawing due to coercion testsronavirus positive, including Team GB shooter and medal contender Amber Hill and the five team members Guinea .
It there was also the quick U-turn after the Guardian revealed that organizers had issued a diktat banning showing images of players taking the knee before football matches on official social media accounts.
We have already played sports. Japan opened the Games on Wednesday with a softball victoryagainst Australia watched by our Justin McCurry , the only western journalist present in Fukushima stadium. It was originally chosen as one of the host stadiums to show how the region recovered from the devastating tsunami and nuclear accident ten years ago. Japan 's 8-1 victory only did good to their hopes of a repeat of their 2008 gold medal, but for the bigger picture, Justin noted :
Also on Wednesday, Sweden beat the US women's soccer team 3-0 in their opening game. It 's not just that this ended the USWNT ' s 44-game unconsumed run - that was the abject way to their defeat t .
Thursday's first action saw the first group matches of the men's football competition. Today appears to be Japan v South Africa and Germany v Brazil.Tonight there is another round of softball games, with the United States facing Canada, Australia. looking to bounce back against Italy and Japan taking on Mexico. They start at 10pm in Japan.
The utter silence in the dead streets of Tokyo reflects the barely tolerated Olympics
The GB team " does not look freshly made "for the Olympics, insists optimist Bronze
Get the full Games schedule and the latest results
🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧 Team GB update
The collective preparations of Team GB receive full treatment of Covid disruptions. As well as medal hope Amber Hill 's withdrawal , 400m hurdles Jessie Knight revealed that she is one of the six British athletes athletes forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a passenger on their flight to Tokyo. Mark England , the GB team's chef de mission at these Games, has warned everyone at the house to buckle up for a bumpy race. Mohamed Sbihi will make history tomorrow as the first Muslim flag bearer of Team GB . Keely Hodgkinson feels optimistic about his prospects in the 800m, telling Sean Ingle: "Is it ridiculous for me to win a medal? I do not think so.
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Team USA update
It will not only be the 3-0 loss that concerns the USWNT, but the low level of performance. Beau Dure wrote for us that they shouldn't panic. Yet.
While the softball team had a scorching time again In Japan, Sam Kerr took on the role of target the Matildas started Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over New Zealand . Most concurrents withdrawing due to positive Covid tests, obstacle jump Jamie Kermond made a name for himself by be suspended for a positive cocaine test instead . There were also upheavals after AOC boss John Coates appeared to order Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to attend the opening ceremony in Tokyo despite concerns about his trip abroad during the pandemic. Palaszczuk sought to play down the incident, claiming she had known Coates for years and confirming that she would go. On a brighter note, The candidateBrisbane's re has finally been confirmed as host of the Summer Olympics and Paralympics for 2032 , news that could boost morale in a country where half the population lives is suddenly found under Covid containment.
I said last week that perhaps like no other Games in history, representatives from Japan need to get off to a good start. Japan finished sixth in the medal table in Rio with 12 gold medals and an overall record, and possibly even better than in Tokyo, although there is no home crowd. to roar them. Justin McCurry rounded up their best medal hopes for you:
Speaking of which, Russian athletes are also expected to have a big impact at the Games, although with the ongoing scandal over the Sochi doping scandal and the cover-ups that follow, they are competing as a team that is definitely not Russia. Our Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth was watching their preparations , concluding:
The torch used for the Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay was designed to resemble one of the symbols of Japan: the cherry blossom.
Allevents are listed here in local Tokyo time. Add one hour for Sydney, subtract eight hours for London, thirteen hours for New York and five hours for San Francisco. get these timezone changes under control by the end of the Games.
🌟If you're only looking at one thing: the ceremony opening, 8 p.m. (so it's 9 p.m. in Sydney, noon in London, 7 a.m. in New York and 4 a.m. in San Francisco). The gestation has been incredibly disrupted with more drama this week, but despite all of that, who doesn't love an Olympics opening ceremony? There's even a bit of a novelty for seasoned Olympic observers - the athletes' parade teams will come in their alphabetical order in Japanese, which should mix up a bit, although as always Greece will be first. We will obviously have Live Age Blog Coverage , and you'll receive your next daily briefing shortly after it's finished, with everything you need to know about Saturday, when 'sporting action really begins.
8:30 am rowing (so it stays awake until 12:30 am in the UK) - events involving the men's and women's single, double and quadruple single sculls. The GB team will expect a strong performance on the water again, and the women's skiffs Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, Hannah Scott, Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne and Lucy Glover are a particularly strong combination to watch.
9:00 am Archery (so it's 10:00 am in Sydney) - women 's individual ranking round.
Archery at 1 p.m. (so it's midnight in New York) - men's individual ranking round.
You can treview our full interactive events calendar and results service here .
How it went
Here is a reminder of the state of the medal table completed after summer 2016 Games Olympics in Rio:
1. 🇺🇸 United States - 46 37 38 - - total 121
2. 🇬🇧 Great Britain - 27 23 🥉17 - total 67
3. 🇨🇳 China - 26 18 26 - total 70
4. 🇷🇺 Russia - –19 🥈17 🥉20 - total 56
5. 🇩🇪 Germany - 🥇17 🥈10 🥉15 - total 42
6. 🇯🇵 Japan - 🥇12 🥈8 🥉21 - total 41
7. 🇫🇷 France - 🥇10 🥈18 🥉14 - total 42
8. 🇰🇷 South Korea - 🥇9 🥈3 🥉9 - total 21
9. 🇮🇹 Italy - 🥇8 🥈12 🥉8 - total 28
10. 🇦🇺 Australia - 🥇8 🥈11 🥉10 - total 29
You can always contact me at [email protected] . I'm interested in how you feel that the Games are finally about to begin, and I'm especially looking forward to hearing about the sports and competitors that you can't wait to watch and cheer on. and that I may have missed.
Next time you hear from me we will all have watched this opening ceremony, which the IOC must pray to change the mood in Japan a bit . Until then, take care of yourself, stay safe and enjoy it.