A cheer-free, no-crowd Games sucks but athletes just want to play

Welcome to a gold medal-winning paradox: The world’s greatest sporting gathering without most of that gathering. Unscrew the crowd microphones and bin the tickets. Tear up every “Go Kento” placard and bring out the cardboard cutouts.

Welcome to the applause-less, cheer-free, zero-atmosphere Olympics. The silencing of this spectacle is a legitimate response to a pandemic and yet it feels lousy. This will be sport with a muzzle on. There will be a hush before dives and a quiet after. You score a perfect 10 and your ovation is a nod from your coach.

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