The Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia will be the first in more 35 years to be held without spectators after organisers on Monday introduced tighter measures to protect against the coronavirus.
Greece’s Olympic Committee said spectators would be excluded from both the dress rehearsal at the ancient site on Wednesday and the widely broadcast ceremony on Thursday. This is the first time since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics that the ceremony will be held without any spectators lounging on the grassy slopes of the ancient stadium in the tiny Peloponnesian hamlet.
The ceremony – held both for summer and winter Games – usually attracts several thousand spectators, including Greeks and foreign visitors.
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“The lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame will be done without the presence of spectators and only 100 invited and accredited guests,” the Greek Olympic Committee said in a statement.
“The dress rehearsal on March 11 will be closed to spectators and media.” The Olympic torch will be lit in Olympia at a scaled-down ceremony on March 12 before a seven-day relay that culminates with a handover ceremony in Greece on 19 March.