The pandemic has affected almost every aspect of the Tokyo Olympics, from their historic postponement last year to being held almost entirely behind closed doors this summer, and buried the dreams of participants who tested positive.
But these Olympics did indeed take place, against all odds, in the midst of a health emergency in the Japanese city. As they end this Sunday, here is their assessment at the level of the coronavirus.
From July 1 to this Sunday, the organizers have identified 430 cases of Covid-19 out of some 52,000 people accredited for the Olympics (athletes, officials, media, etc.), as well as thousands of other people from Japan (volunteers, security agents...).
The infections have affected residents of Japan more than people coming from abroad, although the latter were initially perceived by Japanese public opinion as the main risk factor.
Around 85% of Olympic Village residents were vaccinated, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach announced shortly before the start of the Games.
Some athletes were infected even before making the trip to Tokyo, such as the American Bryson DeChambeau and the Spaniard Jon Rahm, two golfers who could claim the Olympic title, or the American tennis player Coco Gauff.
In Japan, 29 Olympic athletes have tested positive since July 1, according to organizers.
The American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks had in particular had to forfeit because of the Covid-19 two days before the start of his qualifying events. The entire Greek artistic swimming team also had to give up competition after cases of Covid-19 were detected within it in early August.
Some have sometimes had a hard time living in their isolation conditions in hotels in Tokyo. Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs and her fellow taekwondo player Reshmie Oogink had notably mentioned an "Olympic prison" on social networks, complaining in particular of a lack of access to the open air.
But the disaster scenario of a giant cluster in the Olympic Village did not happen, and no match was canceled or any event postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus.
During the Olympics, cases of Covid-19 exploded in Tokyo as elsewhere in Japan, reaching unprecedented levels for the country. The bar of 5,000 new daily cases was crossed for the first time this week in the capital and that of 15,000 nationally. When the Olympics opened on July 23, the 7-day average of new infections was around 1,400 in Tokyo.
The Delta variant, which is more contagious, has spread at full speed in Japan, while vaccination is less advanced there than in other countries (only one third of the national population is currently fully vaccinated). But there was no proven transmission of the virus between participants in the Olympics and the Japanese population, insisted the organizers.
The vast majority of residents in the Olympic Village have complied with the restrictions, although there have been a few high-profile cases of exits from the "bubble", such as Georgian judokas and members of the Australian men's field hockey team.
The governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, estimated that the Olympics helped to limit the movements of the inhabitants, many of them having followed the competitions at home, on television. Japanese health experts have however estimated that the Olympics had an "indirect" effect on the curve of infections in Tokyo, by encouraging the population to lower their guard against the virus. Meanwhile, a growing number of bars and restaurants are defying government calls to close in the early evening and not serve alcohol, according to local media.
According to the chairman of the panel of independent experts present at the Tokyo Olympic Games for health issues, Brian McCloskey, the sporting event showed that the pandemic could be overcome with the adoption of the right barrier gestures, reports L'Equipe.
During a press conference held on Saturday, he said that the Olympics have also provided data to help countries around the world fight against the coronavirus.
"Measures such as social distancing, mask-wearing, hand sanitizing and testing and tracing have worked when implemented as a package," McCloskey said. 'it was possible to keep a pandemic at bay and that's a very important lesson from Tokyo to the rest of the world."
Scheduled from August 24 to September 5, the Paralympic Games will see participants subject to the same restrictions as during the Olympics, such as daily Covid-19 screening tests for athletes and travel reduced to a minimum.
The organizers must decide after the Olympics whether or not the public will be allowed on the Paralympic sites. Under the state of emergency currently in force in Tokyo, a tonnage of 5,000 people is authorized for cultural or sporting events unrelated to the Games.