The flame for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics was lit on March 12th, 2020, in ancient Olympia, Greece, without spectators present as the global spread of the coronavirus has cast doubt over whether the quadrennial sporting event will go ahead as scheduled. The event is scheduled to be held from July 24th to August 9th, 2020.
Actor Xanthi Georgiou used a parabolic mirror in a scaled-down ceremony closed to spectators at the site to ignite the torch and mark the start of a torch relay. The torch will be handed over to Tokyo Games organisers in Athens on March 19th, 2020.
However, the organizers of the event, as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have insisted the games will go ahead as planned amid mounting speculation that they could be cancelled or postponed as the virus spreads rapidly across the globe.
It may be mentioned that the ceremony was the first since 1984 to be held without spectators on the grassy slopes of the stadium, and only a few dozen accredited officials were allowed to watch the lighting at the nearby Temple of Hera.
The World Health Organization (WHO) described the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.
Photo credit: @Tokyo2020