TOKYO — “Dear fans,” the public address announcer boomed, and in an alternate universe, perhaps, thousands perked up as the Olympics got underway. But here, on Wednesday, the first day of competition, none heard him.
“Welcome to the Tokyo Stadium,” he continued, as if clueless to the obvious reality that this game, and the entire Games, will take place without spectators. He charged through an introduction to the U.S. women’s soccer team’s Olympic opener against Sweden. He then ceded to energetic music, and a countdown to kickoff, and then, mostly, to silence. A faint, ever-present rustle of fake crowd noise rolled down from the top of the 50,000-seat venue.