Tokyo Olympics: World's attention turns to Tokyo as beleaguered Olympic Games finally begin

In a few hours time, the world's attention will turn to Tokyo as the beleaguered Olympics Games get underway.

The National Stadium will play host to an opening ceremony with hardly anyone inside it to watch.

And if that wasn't bad enough, there have been even more cases of COVID-19 inside the Olympic village, with two more members of the Czech delegation testing positive - including a reportedly unvaccinated doctor.

That takes the Czech team's COVID tally to six cases. 

But officials are hopeful Friday will only be about the opening ceremony - an event that many thought would never happen.

At Olympic Stadium there are smiles, 'some' social distancing and plenty of sunshine. But for Japanese fans, this is as close as they'll get to the heat of ‘actual’ competition.

"It’s such a shame that we cannot see the stadium," Tokyo resident Hiyori tells Newshub. “But hopefully we can watch it on TV and enjoy."

Hiyori's optimism is shared by some here in Japan - but not by many others. Latest polling shows two thirds of the population still don't want the Games.

Small but vocal protests continue across Tokyo, but they won't stop the show.

Expect music, dancing, and fireworks in a scaled back opening ceremony. It's a far cry from the excitement in Japan in 1964.

Parts of the Ceremony may now look a little different than they were supposed to. 

After the main director and music composer were fired there's immense pressure on those forced to step in and run the show, at the eleventh hour.

Olympic controversy isn't front of mind for the New Zealanders inside the stadium tonight.

For flagbearer Hamish Bond says it's about pride, and passion for the Silver Fern.

"Once my girls get a little bit older, and maybe understand what the Olympics is, they can watch some file footage and say ‘look, there was dad'," Bond says.

"That might be when it sinks in a bit, about the honour that carrying the flag is." 

Getting here has taken five years, not four. A delayed Games, a pandemic Games. 

A Games our Chef de Mission wasn't even sure would happen.

"There’s been a huge amount of work to get to this point," Rob Waddell says.

"And then with the COVID overlay too, that’s certainly added to what people have to put in, just to get into the country."

For the next two weeks, the eyes of billions of people will be watching Tokyo and its empty stadiums.

A country and a city left divided over an event like no other in a time like no other.

But whether they want it, or want it cancelled, it's time for the Games to begin.