(ATR) A significant number of Major League Baseball players choose their favorite song to listen to on the stadium audio system as they take their turn at bat.
With no audience in the stands at the Tokyo Olympics, the loudspeakers could achieve a very special relationship with the protagonists as never before.
This time the "Olympic laps" in the athletics or soccer stadium will not be accompanied by the cheers and applause coming from the mortals who fill the stands, but from the loudspeakers scattered in the park.
The same massive clapping will come from somewhere and no one knows where when the long jumper heads to the stands with arms raised clamoring for popular support before driving the spikes into the sand tank.
They will speak to a deserted grandstand that they imagine to be full.
Last May, more than 400 athletes rehearsed with empty bleachers at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium. And they ran, jumped and threw while the stadium's loudspeakers broadcast recorded audio from the audience.
Today's decision to ban spectators means the test will be carried out for real in a couple of weeks while organizers of nearby mega-events in different parts of the world will take note of the unprecedented, traumatic and historic Japanese experience.
Timeline of major events related to the Tokyo Olympics, which will open on July 23, noted by Kyodo News:
Sept. 7, 2013: Tokyo wins bid to host 2020 Summer Games.
Jan. 24, 2014: The organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics is established.
October 16, 2019: The International Olympic Committee announces a plan to move the marathon and walking events to Sapporo due to heat concerns.
Jan. 30, 2020: The World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.
Feb. 4: The Tokyo Olympics organizing body establishes a task force to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
March 11: WHO calls coronavirus outbreak a "pandemic".
March 12: Olympic flame-lighting ceremony held at the site of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece with no spectators.
March 20: The Olympic flame arrives in Japan.
March 24: Then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, IOC chief Thomas Bach agree to delay the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics by one year.
March 30: Japanese IOC organizers agree to hold Olympic Games from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
March 20, 2021: Organizers decide to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without foreign spectators due to the pandemic.
March 22: The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee says most foreign volunteers will not be allowed to enter Japan.
March 25: Tokyo Olympic torch relay begins in Fukushima Prefecture.
May 28: Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says he will consider allowing spectators at the sites.
June 16: Japanese government decides to allow up to 10,000 spectators at major events.
June 17: The Japanese government decides to end the state of emergency in Tokyo.
June 18: Japan's top COVID-19 advisor says hosting the Tokyo Olympics without spectators is "desirable."
June 21: Organizers set Tokyo Olympic spectator limit at 10,000 per venue.
July 8: Organizers agree to hold the Olympics without spectators in and around Tokyo following the Japanese government's decision to declare a state of emergency.
Homepage photo: ATR
Written by Miguel Hernandez
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