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An Olympic Games which never seemed possible ends with Team GB on a high


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otted across Tokyo, the official posters for an Olympic Games which none of its inhabitants were able to attend carries the motto: ‘United by Emotion’.

For the past two-and-a-half weeks, emotions have run high: Tom Daley’s tears of joy – a gold four Games in the making; Ollie Cook sobbing into his mask having steered the men’s coxless four out of a medal, and Helen Glover’s tear-inducing reunion with her three young children back at Heathrow Airport.

It was a Games that no one initially wanted in Tokyo – as much as 80 per cent of the population was initially opposed to it – but one that the city embraced from the moment it began.

There were still a few dissenting voices usually gathered outside the Olympic Stadium ahead of each evening’s athletics, but they seemed in the minority.

Us lucky few were allowed inside the four walls of the Olympic bubble while the city’s population was locked out, a fact that even now it’s ended does not sit well. For all the wonder of Tokyo 2020, there is a sadness of what might have been – an atmosphere that would no doubt have exceeded even that of the Rugby World Cup.

The joy of the Olympic volunteers was undiminished throughout – as gracious hosts as you could imagine, their joyous collective greetings of “morning” ringing out from triathlon to taekwondo.

One only hopes the Olympic hangover does not hit Tokyo too hard. Covid cases are rising steadily and, for all the talk of the 8pm curfew, bars and restaurants were still allowed to forego that, the payback simply that they did not receive the Covid Government subsidy.

This had seemed a reckless Games to host in the midst of a global pandemic but, on the evidence of the testing regimen here, the bubble itself has not been a super spreader, a little over 100 positive tests from well in excess of half a million saliva samples taken of athletes, support staff and media.

For Team GB, it was a resounding success. The medal count was down on Rio as anticipated, and yet the 375 athletes still punched above their weight to finish fourth in the medal table.


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