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Tokyo Olympics 2020: With fake cheers and empty seats, Japanese capital gives glimpse of COVID-era Olympics

Fake cheers, empty seats, and the sound of pounding feet: welcome to the COVID-era Tokyo Olympics, which Japan seems determined to hold at all costs. An athletics test event brought home the reality of hosting an Olympics during the pandemic, with athletes competing in a muted atmosphere and excitement hard to muster. Foot-strikes echoed around Tokyo's 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium during Sunday's track events, with recorded crowd noises reaching a crescendo as the runners approached the finish. A fanfare of music greeted the end of the race, before the runners quickly departed down the tunnel, leaving a smattering of media and officials in the otherwise empty stadium. "It's weird running in a stadium with no fans," US sprinter Justin Gatlin said after winning the men's 100m. "It feels almost like a time trial or kind of like an intra-squad meet." The athletics meet, one of a series of test events taking place in Tokyo, involved more than 400 competitors, only nine of them from overseas.........Read more

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