Hopefully, those iconic moments away from the Covid-19 chaos, the ones that transcend the global pandemic, will be the ones we remember most.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

This article first appeared in New Frame.

The Tokyo Games have been marked by strict and demanding Covid-19 protocols. But for most athletes, the lack of noisy, enthusiastic supporters cheering them on has been its signature feature.

It’s been a strange sort of Olympics. Silent and strange. Normally a noisy festival of sporting conquests and calamities and just about everything in between, the coronavirus-tainted Tokyo Games have been an understandably muted affair.

Apart from the masks, temperature checks, daily Covid-19 testing and podium presentations at which athletes have awarded their medals to themselves, these Games will largely be remembered for their silence. No crowds, no exuberant vibe in the host city and little of the usual spontaneity that make this sporting spectacle unique.

This has been particularly apparent at sports venues where even the athletes’ teammates haven’t been able to support them from the stands. Had national anthems not been sung before the matches at the Oi Hockey Stadium, one could have been forgiven for thinking it was…



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