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Ending best-ever Olympics for Israel, closing ceremony kicks off in Tokyo

The Olympic flame burns prior to the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, August 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
The Olympic flame burns prior to the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, August 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The curtain is about to close on the Pandemic Olympics — the most successful ever for Israeli athletes, who won four medals, including two gold.

The 2020 Tokyo Games — held in 2021 — are coming to an end with the closing ceremony. Just like most of the competitions, it is being held without fans in the stands.

Rhythmic gymnastics gold medalist Linoy Ashram is carrying Israel’s flag at the ceremony.

Olympic Stadium is empty except for a few hundred members of the media, Olympics officials and volunteers as the cauldron burns at one end. The athletes have lined up on folding chairs outside the stadium, not far from a small group of protesters who are surrounded by police.

The rain from a passing tropical storm has stopped in the evening, replaced by heavy humidity that has draped over these Games.

Thirty-three sports have been contested across 16 days in largely empty stadiums, with fans barred over coronavirus risks and athletes living in strict biosecure conditions.

The Olympic flag will now pass to 2024 host Paris.

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