With less than 1 week until the Tokyo Olympics, here’s what to expect


Ready or not, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are less than one week away.

The athlete selections have been made and teams from countries across the globe are arriving, preparing to duke it out for medals awarded over the course of 339 sporting events.

Opening ceremonies are slated to begin on July 23, with closing ceremonies on Aug. 8. However, Australia will face Japan in softball on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET and Great Britain will compete against Chile at 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium will be the focal point of the Games and will host the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics and several football matches.

Here’s what to expect from the Tokyo Olympics this year.

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COVID-19 restrictions

Tokyo 2020 officials banned spectators from all sporting events, stadiums and Olympic venues on July 8 after a sudden surge in cases of the highly infectious Delta variant forced Japan to declare a public health emergency.

The Olympic village will be far from empty though. Games officials said around 11,500 athletes are expected in Japan to compete, while another estimated 79,000 journalists, officials and staff are also expected to be in attendance.

Masks will be mandatory for everyone in attendance.

According to the Tokyo Olympics Playbook obtained by Global News, athletes travelling to attend will be required to show two separate, negative COVID-19 test result certificates before they even set foot in Tokyo, including one within 96 hours of departure and another within 72 hours. They will also be expected to download and activate one app that will monitor their location and be used for contact tracing, and another that will send out daily temperature and health check reports.

Athletes will be tested upon arrival and will have their temperatures checked each time they enter an Olympic venue. Masks are required for the duration of the Games, and athletes will be required to replace masks as soon as they become damp and to wash them once a day.

Click to play video: 'Tokyo bans Olympic spectators due to COVID-19 state of emergency'

Tokyo bans Olympic spectators due to COVID-19 state of emergency

Tokyo bans Olympic spectators due to COVID-19 state of emergency – Jul 8, 2021

What’s new this year?

The largest names in surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing, karate and baseball will all be competing for gold medals this year.

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If waves allow, Olympics officials said surfing’s debut competition will take place over the course of four days, with the top two surfers in each category moving on to the next round while all other surfing competitors will compete in a “repechage phase” to decide who goes through to the latter rounds.

Skateboarding has been split into two categories for men and women: street and park.

According to Olympic literature, street skateboarding will be held on a “straight street-style course complete with stairs, handrails, benches and walls,” and athletes will be judged on the “originality, execution and number of tricks they perform.”

Women and men will be participating in combined competitions for sport climbing Olympic medals. Twenty athletes of each gender will take part in speed, bouldering and lead climbing disciplines.

The world’s first Olympic karate competition will be held in Nippon Budokan, the spiritual home of Japanese traditional martial arts. Olympic officials said there will be six kumite events — three for each gender in different weight divisions — in which two competitors will spar.

There will also be separate kata competitions for men and women, where participants will take turns performing series of fighting sequences.

After being dropped following the Beijing Olympics in 2008, baseball and softball will also be returning to the Games.

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Athletes to watch

Many of the world’s top athletes will be competing in this year’s Olympic Games.

Team Canada is sending a team of 371 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics, the country’s largest Olympic contingent since the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.

The youngest member of the team will be 14-year-old swimmer Summer McIntosh and the oldest will be 56-year-old equestrian Mario Deslauriers.

Canadian soccer forward Christine Sinclair and Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse will also be participating.

Fan favourites, such as four-time gold medalist U.S. gymnast Simone Biles and France’s 10-time world Judo champion Teddy Riner are expected to compete this year. Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will be competing in the 100-metre dash, and U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky will be competing in the 1500-metre freestyle event.

— With files from Reuters

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.