The Reading / Listening – Tokyo Olympics – Level 5

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has lit the flame to open the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Games officially started, albeit a year late. Fears of a fifth wave of Covid-19 in Japan’s capital meant it was touch and go whether or not they would go ahead. The pandemic has greatly affected the event. It now takes place with no fans and several athletes withdrawing after testing positive. Japan still hopes the Games will showcase its culture to the world. The Opening Ceremony ended around midnight with a spectacular fireworks show that illuminated Tokyo’s night sky.

Games organizers said 950 people attended the opening ceremony, in a venue with a capacity of 68,000. Attendees included Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and the US First Lady Jill Biden. Emperor Naruhito declared the Games officially open. Olympics President Thomas Bach said: “It is very different from what all of us had imagined, but let us cherish this moment because finally we are all here together. Today is a moment of hope.” Naomi Osaka tweeted about lighting the flame. She said it was: “Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honour I will ever have in my life.”