Tokyo Olympics ends quietly as Paris takes the flame

The Tokyo Olympics have ended with a scaled down closing ceremony to an empty stadium and a sigh of relief from the host city.

It was the strangest Olympics in memory, held during a global pandemic, against the wishes of public opinion and without any spectators.

“We have realised the games by prioritizing safety, and we have now come to the closing day without seeing big problems on the whole,” said Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

“Judgment will have to wait until after all Olympic and Paralympic events are over. At this point, we cannot call it a 100 per cent success.”

The biggest opposition to the Games centred around health issues, with fears the tens of thousands of Games participants and accompanying personnel would trigger a new wave of Covid.

The daily count in Tokyo has more than doubled in recent weeks, pushing past 4,000 for the fifth straight day. But the organisers said the number of Covid-19 cases confirmed among people associated with the Olympics totalled just 430.

A decision whether to allow spectators for the upcoming Paralympics will be made in the coming days.

“Heading into the Paralympics, we will strive to create a perfect environment in which people will not get infected or get others infected,” Hashimoto said.

The Olympic torch has now been handed to Paris, which is set to host the 2024 Games.

There was no live handing over ceremony, with a video to mark the ceremony instead.

Paris has vowed to hold a thrifty Games, with a plan to repurpose current venues and spread the events across the city and its suburbs.

In a first, the total construction budget of 3.35 billion Euros is lower than the budget for the event itself (3.9 billion Euros).

But before that is the Winter Olympics, which kicks off in February 2022 in Beijing.