Tokyo Olympics: Mostly spectator-free opening ceremony set to kick off pandemic-delayed Games

TOKYO — Tokyo’s pandemic-delayed Summer Olympics officially get underway today with a largely spectator-free opening ceremony.

The stands at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium will be empty save for a handful of officials, guests and members of the media as the festivities begin at 8 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET).

Even the number of athletes participating is likely to be smaller than most years, due to strict COVID-19 protocols at the Olympic Village.

The Canadian Olympic Committee said Thursday that only a small contingent of 30 to 40 athletes — roughly a tenth of the total delegation — will take part.

The opening ceremony was rocked by an 11th-hour scandal on Thursday, when the director was fired over a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998.

Earlier this week, a composer whose music is expected to be used at the ceremony was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2021.

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