The Tokyo 2020 Games have been declared closed on Sunday by IOC chief Thomas Bach, who mentioned it had been the “most challenging Olympic journey” after a 12 months’s pandemic delay and threats of cancellation. Bach referred to as the Tokyo Games “unprecedented” as he addressed the 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium, which was empty of spectators as Japan battles a report coronavirus outbreak. “In these difficult times we are all living through, you give the world the most precious of gifts: hope,” the International Olympic Committee president informed athletes on the ceremony.

“And now I have to mark the end of this most challenging Olympic journey to Tokyo: I declare the Games of the 32nd Olympiad closed,” Bach mentioned.

It marked a low-key finish to a rare Olympics which have largely performed out in empty venues with solely athletes, group officers and media current.

Athletes have lived in strict biosecure circumstances with social distancing on the Olympic Village and directions to put on masks except consuming, sleeping, coaching or competing.

As the Olympic flag was handed to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo for the 2024 Games, stay footage confirmed cheering crowds within the French capital — in stark distinction to Tokyo.

Bach has described how the IOC thought of cancelling the Olympics and claiming the prices on its insurance coverage coverage however mentioned officers ploughed forward with holding the Games “for the athletes”.

“Our athletes moved people”

On Sunday, the climax of the largest sports activities occasion for the reason that pandemic, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge received the lads’s marathon and the USA edged China on the high of the medals desk.

The United States scored victories in volleyball, monitor biking and basketball to high the tally with 39 gold medals, only one forward of China.

The Olympics have been stricken by low Japanese assist as they went forward with Tokyo and different areas beneath a state of emergency and with infections multiplying to new highs.

But Japan’s report haul of 27 golds to complete third on the desk has received hearts. Britain have been fourth with 22 and the Russian Olympic Committee, the group for Russian athletes after their nation was banned for systematic doping, have been fifth with 20.

“We believe our athletes’ earnest spirit and all-out performance moved people,” mentioned Tsuyoshi Fukui, chef de mission for the Japanese group.

A succession of huge names have didn’t carry out in Japan, the place new sports activities skateboarding, browsing, sport climbing and karate introduced younger new stars to the fore.

But marathon world report holder Kipchoge confirmed his class on Sunday, kicking within the closing levels and clocking 2hr 08min 38sec to retain the title he received in 2016.

“I know there were a lot of people against holding this Olympics due to the coronavirus,” mentioned a flag-waving, 47-year-old fan on the marathon route who gave his identify as Tsujita.

“But I am glad it took place. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone.”

The marathon, moved north to Sapporo to keep away from Tokyo’s summer time warmth, was one of many few occasions to permit spectators.

Trans athletes, ‘twisties’

Fears of a significant outbreak among the many largely vaccinated Olympic athletes and officers proved unfounded and 430 circumstances have been picked up throughout the Games, together with 32 within the Olympic Village.

However, the virus has lurked as an ever-present menace. Victory celebrations have been muted, with lonely laps of honour. But the athletes’ feelings have been on full view.

Superstar gymnast Simone Biles offered essentially the most jaw-dropping second when the American abruptly pulled out of competitors over a bout of the “twisties”, a disorientating psychological block.

Biles, broadly acknowledged as the best gymnast in historical past, recovered sufficiently to say a redemptive bronze medal in her remaining occasion, the beam.

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand grew to become the primary brazenly transgender lady to compete on the Games and Canada’s Quinn grew to become the primary brazenly transgender Olympic medallist, with gold within the ladies’s soccer.

In different highlights, US swimmer Caeleb Dressel assumed the mantle of Michael Phelps with 5 gold medals and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah achieved a dash double on the monitor.

Among the ultimate occasions on Sunday, Jason Kenny claimed the lads’s keirin to turn into the primary Briton to win seven Olympic titles.

The USA began the day two golds behind China however the ladies’s basketball and volleyball titles and monitor bicycle owner Jennifer Valente’s omnium victory put them high of the desk.

Tokyo will host the Paralympics from August 24. The Olympic circus will reconvene in simply six months when Beijing, confronted with boycott threats and a renewed coronavirus emergency, holds the Winter Games in February



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