Day 1 of 2020 Olympics begins with gold for China, more Covid-19 cases

It’s Saturday, July 24, the official first day of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Here’s what you need to know.

New cases of Covid-19 announced: The global pandemic has postponed the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for a year, and even though the Games have finally started, Covid-19 is still creating hardship for athletes and organizers.

There were 127 cases of Covid-19 linked to the Olympics on Saturday, with 17 other new infections reported in the past 24 hours. Although Tokyo 2020 officials have not disclosed which nationalities have been affected, some athletes and teams are making the announcements themselves.

One example is Dutch rower Finn Florijn, whose Olympic dreams were dashed after testing positive for Covid-19 in Japan on Friday. In a statement released by the Dutch team, Florjin said his Olympic trip was “over in an instant”.

“Glimmers of hope”: The opening ceremony of the Olympics went off without a hitch on Friday evening, including a breathtaking drone show, John Lennon’s “Imagine” and of course the traditional parade of athletes through the Olympic Stadium.

Amy Bass, a professor of sports studies in the United States, said the event offered “glimmers of hope” for what has so far been a troubled Olympics.

The Olympic flame was lit by Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, a choice according to the organizers of the Games supposed to reflect a “message of diversity and inclusion”. In a tweet, Osaka said the lighting of the Olympic torch was “without doubt the greatest athletic achievement and the greatest honor I will ever have in my life.”

What is planned: The opening day of Tokyo 2020 started off with a bang, as the first official gold medal of the Games went to Chinese athlete Yang Qian in the women’s 10m air rifle.

Many more events are scheduled for Saturday and Friday night US time, including the start of the swimming, table tennis and water polo competitions. Medals for cycling, fencing, judo, taekwondo and weightlifting are also expected to be presented on Saturday.

The full Olympic Games program is available here.

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