At the end of the week, the most famous sporting event in the world officially gets under way in Japan with a massive security apparatus in place to keep participants apart from ordinary people.
Security fencing round the Olympics main stadium and a wall of coronavirus protocols have been thrown up to ensure athletes, officials, support staff and media from overseas do not introduce more coronavirus into the host country.
Even so, health experts say the Games protocols for testing or ventilation aren't strong enough.
Covid-19 has already reared its ugly spikes. A number of cases among Games personnel have emerged, including several involving athletes.
Tokyo is under a state of emergency during the Games due to rising Covid cases. Many of the visitors will get only a glimpse of the city as they travel from the Olympics Village hosting 11,000 people or from hotels to venues.
Fans are banned from all Olympic events in Tokyo and the three neighbouring districts.
For the athletes, this is still a chance at Olympics glory. Most of the millions of people who will tune in will enjoy a front-row seat to the sporting contests from their couches.
Over the past year and a half we've got used to watching major sporting events with masked crowds, or few people and cardboard cutouts, or no-one watching live at all but with piped crowd noise as though there's an invisible horde in the stands.
The British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa has been going on in cavernous stadiums of empty seats, with chaotic real life off-screen. Members of the Springboks squad caught Covid and days of unrelated political unrest raised questions of whether the tour should continue. The tests will all be played in Cape Town.
Lions tours to individual rugby powers in the Southern Hemisphere only happen every 12 years, or once in most opposing players' careers. Shifting the series would have been a blow to South Africans and non-test team players involved in lead-up games. And wearing the red jersey is a pinnacle achievement for members of the visiting squad.
Sometimes the realities of what it takes to put on sports events in these strange days cut through for the public, such as when Tonga's captain Sonatane Takulua said following his side's 102-0 loss to the All Blacks that: "A lot of people don't know what we're going through behind the scenes".
Tonga had to scramble together a squad, including 13 debutant players. Several top players were held back by European clubs and others were in quarantine when the match was played.
Fiji has been playing with the emotional toll of the deadly Covid outbreak at home. The Warriors have had to relocate to the Gold Coast for the rest of the NRL season because of the Sydney virus lockdown.
Regardless of the difficulties viewers don't see, the sporting contests have been intense experiences for athletes and that's likely to be the case at the Olympics as well.
The measures required to hold the Games are stringent. There is daily Covid-19 testing during the Olympics but athletes needed two negative tests before arriving and were tested again after touching down.
Each athlete will have a Covid-19 minder to ensure rules are complied with. Athletes have to complete lists of destinations and people they expect to meet for approval. Apps must be downloaded for online health checks and contacts.
The athletes can't walk around the city and relax as tourists, shop or go to bars. They've been advised to clap in support of athletes instead of yelling.
Athletes will hang medals around their own necks and there will be no podium handshakes or hugs.
The Olympics in Japan will be an experience like no other.