Many Americans will fulfill their dream of being like one of their favorite Olympians on Sunday: Those athletes, after all, might also be home on their couches watching the Closing Ceremony.
Simone Biles, for instance, arrived home in Houston on Thursday from the Tokyo Olympics, where she won two medals despite pulling out of the gymnastics competition for a time, declaring her well-being was more important than medals.
So Biles won't be in Tokyo to walk in the Closing Ceremony, and many other athletes also will be stateside. The simple reason: athletes were asked to pack up and depart no more than 48 hours after they were done competing.
It was one of the COVID-era rules that would make it no fun to stick around the athletes village anyway.
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The rules included no late-night parties in the athletes village, and no nights — or early mornings — on the town.
“It’s very restrictive. You can’t be a tourist,” U.S. rower Grace Luczak said last month.
The restrictions were not a surprise to the athletes; officials had been warning for months that these Olympics — which seemed touch-and-go for a time — would be different.
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“Staying longer in the village increases the potential for problems,” John Coates, the International Olympic Committee member in charge of overseeing Tokyo preparations, said in November at a briefing for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Coates was asked if athletes would be discouraged from sightseeing, or looking around the city.
“Yes,” he replied simply.
Masks and social distancing have been strictly required. Meals in big groups were to be avoided. Alcohol had to be consumed in one's room — and alone. Family interactions were basically reduced to video chatting.
With all those protocols and a complex COVID testing system in place, and the reality that there would be no fans in the stands for the Closing Ceremony, many athletes may have been happy to get on the plane home.
When is the 2021 Olympics Closing Ceremony?
After all 339 medal events have been completed across 41 sports, the Closing Ceremony will take place on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 7 a.m. ET at Olympic Stadium.
Some sports will just be concluding in the hours leading up to the ceremony, including the finals for boxing, women's volleyball and men's water polo.
What channel is the 2021 Olympics Closing Ceremony on?
The Closing Ceremony will stream live Aug 8. at 7 a.m. ET on NBCOlympics.com, Peacock and the NBC Sports App. The ceremony will air later that night in primetime on NBC at 8 p.m. ET.
The broadcast will be preceded by a “Tokyo Gold” wrap-up show at 7 p.m. ET.
Where can I stream the Olympics Closing Ceremony?
If you're looking to watch on a mobile device, the ceremony will stream on Peacock, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.
This article contains material from the Associated Press