Tokyo 2020 Olympics marked by pandemic and by political, sporting, and personal turmoil draws to a close.
Tokyo doused its Olympic flame in a ceremony on Sunday that echoed the restraint of the games that played out without spectators and were defined and transformed by the global pandemic, dazzling sport and deeply personal turmoil.
Moments after the flame was extinguished in the Olympic Stadium, a volley of multicoloured fireworks lit up the night sky as athletes were already heading for the exits.
They were given a surreal glimpse of everyday Tokyo life when the closing ceremony was briefly transformed into a park with grass, buskers and BMX riders. Organisers said the scene was meant so they could “experience Tokyo”, a poignant nod to the fact that many spent their time at the games cooped up in rooms or competing in venues.
It was a duly odd closing to the games that were upended by the COVID-19 pandemic and then transformed by the drama of politics, sport and personal turmoil. The Tokyo Olympics were originally intended to show Japan’s recovery from a devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in 2011.