Tokyo Olympics: Superfan left holding worthless tickets after Games spectator ban

Kazunori Takashima was just one Games away from breaking an Olympic record - and he's not even an athlete.

He's attended every Olympic Games since 2006.

"Watching sport at the Olympic Games is amazing, I feel." says Takashima.

That feeling is worth $40,000 to him - that's how much he spent on his 197 tickets for Tokyo 2020. They would have secured him the world record for attendance, but are now worth nothing.

"Everything is disappeared," says Takashima. "It's very sad."

The decision to ban spectators was made a week ago. Since then, COVID cases have hit a six-month high.

While Takashima feels for the families that can't be there, others are calling for those who have already arrived to turn around and go home.

Still, the New Zealand team continue to show up - without friends and family sure - but so far without issue.

"It was hard driving here past some of the magnificent venues that have been set up for these Olympic Games, because they are spectacular and it would have been amazing to have crowds there," says NZ chef de mission Rob Waddell.

"But I know athletes are really excited about coming and genuinely feel privileged to be here."

Even as Olympic officials - including president Thomas Bach - ramp up their sale of the crowd-free dream, Tokyo locals refuse to buy in.

The Olympic Games motto is 'faster, higher, stronger', but with the virus moving faster and the tension is rising higher, the pressure on Tokyo 2020 to be successful is stronger than ever.