After a year of epidemic delays and threats of cancellation, IOC President Thomas Bach declared the Tokyo 2020 Games concluded on Sunday, bringing the “most demanding Olympic journey” to a finish.
As Bach addressed the 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium, which was devoid of supporters due to Japan’s effort to suppress a record coronavirus outbreak, he termed them “unprecedented Olympic Games.”
“In these difficult times we are all living through, you give the world the most precious of gifts: hope,” the International Olympic Committee president told athletes at 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,” he added.
It marked a low-key end to an extraordinary Olympics that have mostly played out in empty venues with only athletes, team officials and media present.
Athletes have resided in biosecure circumstances at the Olympic Village, with social segregation and instructions to wear masks until eating, sleeping, training, or competing. The IOC considered cancelling.
the Olympics and claiming the costs on its insurance coverage, according to Bach, but authorities decided to go ahead and hold the Games “for the athletes.”
“Some were already speaking of ‘Ghost Games’,” he told an IOC session earlier on Sunday.
“What we have seen here is that on the contrary, the athletes have brought soul to the Olympic Games.”