TOKYO: The Tokyo Olympics have weathered a historic postponement, an unprecedented ban on overseas fans and persistent domestic opposition, but with one month to go, the finish line is finally in sight. The journey to this year’s Games has involved a long list of complications that sometimes threatened to make them the first modern Olympics cancelled in peacetime. Now, just four weeks remain until the opening ceremony on July 23, and while the mood is far from jubilant, organisers might just have cause to celebrate. The first Olympic teams are already in Japan, along with key officials and some overseas media. And polls suggest long-standing public opposition to the Games may be weakening as D-day approaches. “We are in the full delivery phase,” International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said on Monday. “Athletes are beginning to arrive in Tokyo, ready to make their Olympic dreams become a reality.” It has been an uphill battle since the unprecedented decision to postpone the Games in March 2020, as the scale of the pandemic started to emerge. Back then, there was cause to hope the pandemic might be over before the opening ceremony came around ––- the Games would be “proof of mankind’s victory over the virus”, Japanese officials said. But a global coronavirus surge and the rise of more infectious variants put paid to that triumphant tone, and fuelled rising opposition in Japan. No cheering, high-fives: For the first half of the year, polls regularly found most Japanese opposed the Games this summer, favouring either a further delay or cancellation. But officials pressed ahead, contending with delayed qualifiers and test events and launching a mammoth effort to draft virus rules they say will keep the event safe. In March they announced the Games would be the first to bar overseas spectators, a decision that Tokyo 2020 chief and former Olympian Seiko Hashimoto called “unavoidable”. On Monday, organisers set a maximum of 10,000 domestic fans per venue, but warned events could move behind closed doors if infections surge. Even with some spectators in the stands, there’s no doubt this year’s Games will be a pale imitation of Olympics past. Cheering will be banned, and athletes can’t hug or high-five. They must wear masks at all times except when eating, sleeping or competing, and are only allowed to move between the Olympic Village and their venues. Punishments for violating the rules will range from verbal warnings and fines to being kicked out of the Games altogether.