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Empty Seats, No Cheers at Fanless Tokyo Games Amid Virus Fears – NBC New York


Gymnasts raised their arms and struck familiar poses — without the familiar explosion of cheers. Nothing to hear near the beach volleyball courts, either, except the piercing hiss of cicadas in surrounding trees.

All around the Tokyo Games, empty seats have provided a sullen, silent reminder that these unusual Olympics have been staged against the will of many in Japan, where the coronavirus pandemic is surging.



AP Photo/Dita Alangkara

Kento Momota of Japan competes against USA’s Timothy Lam during men’s singles Badminton match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Backdropped by empty seat at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field Mexico's Luis Alvarez releases an arrow


AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Backdropped by empty seats at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field Mexico’s Luis Alvarez releases an arrow during the mixed team competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Lin Chen-hao, center right, of Taiwan, and Shira Rishony, of Israel, compete in a women's 48-kg match


AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Lin Chen-hao, center right, of Taiwan, and Shira Rishony, of Israel, compete in a women’s 48-kg match with no spectators attending at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Only at a few far-flung events — like soccer matches in the northern prefecture of Miyagi — have fans been allowed to enter. Even then, capacities are severely limited.

A DJ spun some beats at the 3-on-3 basketball court, but the six competitors on the court were essentially his entire audience. No one watched at archery, weightlifting or field hockey, either.

One group of competitors who didn’t seem to mind: dressage horses at the Equestrian Park, who carried on without a care as they performed pirouettes and piaffes.

Mexico's Dallas Escobedo warms up before a softball game against Italy at the 2020 Summer Olympics


AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Mexico’s Dallas Escobedo warms up before a softball game against Italy at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Yokohama, Japan. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Julia Sude and Karla Borger, of Germany, play against Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich, of Switzerland, during a women's beach volleyball match


AP Photo/Felipe Dana

Julia Sude and Karla Borger, of Germany, play against Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich, of Switzerland, during a women’s beach volleyball match in the empty Shiokaze Park at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Carlos Edriel Yulo, of Philippines, performs on the rings during the men's artistic gymnastic qualifications


AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Carlos Edriel Yulo, of the Philippines, performs on the rings during the men’s artistic gymnastic qualifications at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

While families could not be in Tokyo to cheer on their loved ones in the Olympic Games, they sure let it loose cheering from home.



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