What would a sporting event be without a cheering crowd? The 2021 Olympics, apparently. Officials originally banned international visitors from attending the games before deciding to do away with spectators altogether.
You can’t see the 2021 Olympics in person, but you can certainly catch them on TV. NBC says it will air a record amount of coverage, some of which will be available free on Peacock, the network’s streaming service.
Karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing make their first appearance at the Olympics this year. Baseball and softball will also be played for the first time since 2008 for a grand total of 33 sports.
Athletes will have to test negative for Covid-19 before and after arriving at the Olympic Village. Once there, they’ll be subject to a three-day quarantine and daily testing for the virus.
Tennis players Coco Gauff and Dan Evans, and sport shooter Amber Hill have dropped out of the competition after testing positive for Covid-19. Several others are sitting out the games for reasons related to the pandemic.
Claims about “anti-sex beds” have been debunked, but athletes are still being told to forego certain after-hours workouts. Olympic organizers say athletes should avoid physical contact, which could make for a very different vibe at the famously horny Olympic Village.
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The Olympics always draw protests over detrimental effects on host cities, but opposition is more intense with Tokyo under a Covid-19 emergency. In May, a poll in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper found more than 80 percent of people wanted the event canceled.
Olympic organizers say they could still pull the plug over Covid-19 fears. It wouldn’t be the first time, but the possibility of a last-minute cancellation is still unique.