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Preparation still up in the air as Tokyo works on Olympic venues

Monitoring Desk

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics are getting closer and things are starting to stir around the venues, though not as much as you might expect. Many preparations are still up in the air as organizers try to figure out how to hold the postponed games in the middle of a pandemic.

Much of the city will be watching Wednesday as the countdown clocks around town hit the 100-days-to-go mark.

The new national stadium in the heart of Tokyo exemplifies the state of preparations. Kengo Kuma’s $1.4 billion venue is still largely sealed off to outsiders by a white wall that circles the stadium.

Workers prepare the venue at Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Over the weekend, passersby could hear rumblings from inside the venue — possible practice for the opening ceremony on July 23. The Paralympics follow on Aug. 24.

There is little movement around the Athletes’ Village, located near Tokyo Bay. The village will be tightly controlled during the Olympics, operating largely as a bubble for 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4.400 Paralympic athletes.

A woman wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks near the Japan National Stadium, where opening ceremony and many other events are planned for postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
People wearing protective masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus ride bicycles near the Japan National Stadium, where opening ceremony and many other events are planned for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Athletes will be told not to socialize, to refrain for any tourism, and to come late and leave early to reduce the risks of spreading the virus.

The new aquatic center, also near Tokyo Bay, just finished holding Japan’s national swimming championships. It’s already had a test run and has yielded a big story.

Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, a 20-year-old survivor of leukemia, finished first in four races and qualified for the Olympics.

She was one of the world’s best swimmers until she was diagnosed two years ago with leukemia. She had said her plans were to aim for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but her performances have surprised almost everyone.

Ikee is sure to be a big star in Tokyo — even if she fails to win a medal. She won six gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, and was getting very close to breaking the world record in the 100-meter butterfly — her best event.

Tokyo Aquatics Centre, where swim trials were being held for Japan’s Olympic team, in Tokyo Thursday, April 8, 2021. The aquatics center is also a planned venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, rescheduled to start in July 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
People walk past Ariake Colosseum, a venue planned to be used for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in Tokyo Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
People walk towards the Tokyo International Exhibition Center, also known as Tokyo Big Sight, in Tokyo Thursday, April 8, 2021. The exhibition center is a planned venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, rescheduled to start in July 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
People walk under a banner promoting the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center, in Tokyo Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
A guard stands in front of a fence to close off a construction site for the athletes’ village to be used during the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in Tokyo Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
Construction workers fold a tarp sheet at a closed building complex being built as part of the athletes’ village to be used during the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in Tokyo Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
A guard walks around a closed building complex being built as part of the athletes’ village to be used during the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in Tokyo Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
A man wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks near Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, one of venues for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Construction workers lift a steel beam into position at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, one of venues for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Workers prepare the venue at Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
This photo shows part of the Shiokaze Park, planned to be used for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in Tokyo Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus walk at Enoshima, the venue of sailing competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in Fujisawa, near Tokyo, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
A man enjoys a paddleboard at Enoshima, the venue of sailing competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in Fujisawa, near Tokyo, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
A man walks by a part of Olympic rings displayed at the Japan Olympic Museum situated across from the Japan National Stadium planned to be used for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
People wearing face masks walk on a crossover bridge near a banner to promote the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
A construction fence featuring the words “Safety First” with a backdrop of the Olympic rings floating in the water in the Odaiba section Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Courtesy: AP News

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