The silence was oppressive, the atmosphere surreal.
We already knew these Olympic Games in Tokyo would be like none that have gone before.
This became apparent very quickly at the Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium.
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Traditionally, the opening act is an opportunity to celebrate everything that is great about a country.
It is not by chance that Danny Boyle's London masterpiece is remembered as fondly as any moment in 2012, a reminder of the very best of Great Britain.
That was not the case here. With no fans in attendance, it felt from the outset like a strange cross between a dress rehearsal and a funeral.
In some ways you have to admire the decision not to take a celebratory tone to open a Games where the tension is palpable.
It would have felt out of place in a stadium bereft of fans while the spectre of Covid hangs over everything.
And yet, those moments when the music faded were just plain weird. Some half-hearted claps from the lucky few in attendance, and some audible protests of a small group outside.
In a reversal of how these events usually go, it was the Parade of Nations, albeit with vastly reduced delegations due to the strict Covid protocols, that lifted the spirits.
Even behind the masks, the smiles of those making their way into the stadium were apparent.
For Great Britain, it was almost comical to see 5ft2 sailor Hannah Mills and 6ft8 rower Mohamed Sbihi combining to carry the flag.
Behind them in the British contingent of just 22, heavyweight boxer Frazer Clarke was one of those clearly revelling in the occasion.
Later, we were treated to the now-customary sight of Tonga's bare-chested flag bearer Pita Taufatofua, this time sharing duties with taekwondo player Malia Paseka.
Syria's flag bearer was Hend Zaza, the 12-year-old table tennis player who is the youngest competitor at these Games and one of the youngest ever.
Perhaps no one was more emotional than French gymnast Samir Aït Saïd, who five years ago suffered a devastating broken leg in Rio. He has since lost his father to cancer and promised to bring a medal back to his tomb in France.
Here, he celebrated carrying the flag with a backflip.
That was the highlight until a giant drone display which featured a globe floating almost mystically over the stadium, captivating athletes, media and guests alike.
Before the parade of athletes we were treated to a sombre performance perhaps best characterised by a runner on a treadmill who eventually just stepped off, her race run.
The hope is that it is not a portent of what is to come in these Games. For all the concerns, it shouldn't be.
It was inevitable that the Opening Ceremony would be most affected by the lack of spectators.
We have seen over the last 18 months that sport can and does go on. It might seem different behind closed doors, but you quickly adapt.
When tennis superstar Naomi Osaka lit the flame to get these Games underway for good, it signalled the time for sport to take over, as it always does.
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