Olympic fever finally hits Japan on first day of competition at Tokyo 2020

Almost 70 million people watched the Games on TV in the host nation but some British viewers were left disappointed

After a year of apathy, swirling uncertainty and widespread anxiety about Covid, the Japanese public appeared to suddenly catch Olympic fever on Saturday as the games exploded into life on the opening day of competition.

The International Olympic Committee reported that 69.4 million people in Japan, about half of the population, had watched some part of the Games on TV – far higher than expectations. Thousands also defied calls to stay at home during the men’s cycle road race and lined the streets to cheer and applaud the riders.

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