TOKYO, Japan – Tokyo 2020, the 32nd Olympic Games, has begun here with its traditional opening ceremony played in front of a relatively small number of live guests in the stadium.
Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka lit the flame. IOC president Thomas Bach said in his speech: “Today is a moment of hope. Yes, it is very different from what all of us had imagined, but let us cherish this moment because finally, we are all here together.
“This is the power of sport, the message of solidarity, peace, and resilience,” added the IOC boss.
“You did not know when you could train again, if you could see your coach tomorrow, if your teammates would be with you for the next competition, or if this competition would take place at all.
“You struggled, you persevered, you never gave up. And Today, you are making your Olympic dream come true. You are true Olympic athletes.”
The athletics programme begins Friday, 30 July and ends 8 August.
The women’s sprints will be the highlight of Tokyo 2020
Jamaica’s defending sprint double champion Elaine Thompson-Herah will be in the mix. She is in good form but will be hard press to defend both titles won five years ago back at Rio 2016.
Another Jamaican, Doha 2019 world 100m champion and back-to-back 100m champion from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, will start as the favourite. Fraser-Pryce, winner of the Jamaica Olympic Trials 100m and 200m, ran personal best times of 10.63 and 21.71 this season. She is the leader in both sprints going to Tokyo 2020.
Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the Doha 2019 world 200m champion, is also considered another dangerous contender.
Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson is also in with a chance and could surprise many in both events. Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo will also be dangerous in the women’s 200m.
The contest is not expected to be as hot in the male sprints.