ON the surface, as an armchair onlooker, it could be any old Olympics.

There’s Hazel Irvine, back on screen and looking not a day older than the last Olympics – or any of the ones before for that matter – chatting away knowledgeably about men’s gymnastics. Tomorrow she might be discussing with total authority the merits of BMX freestyle, fencing or roller speed skating.

And, like any old Olympics, we’ll find ourselves drawn to sports we’ve never bothered about before, hooked on futsal, captivated by canoeing and watching weightlifting at three in the morning.

But this isn’t any old Olympics. This is the Olympics 2020, delayed a year due to the Covid pandemic, and riven with controversy and criticism.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was hit by a new scandal last week, just hours before the official opening event at the new National Stadium, when a senior organiser of the event was sacked for comments he made in the past about the Holocaust.

Kentaro Kobayashi, a comedian and one of the creative directors of Friday’s opening ceremony, was fired after it was learned that he had made antisemitic jokes in a comedy act in 1998.

Organisers attempted to draw a line under the incident, but it was only the latest in a long series of problems that have plagued the Tokyo Games.

The backdrop of coronavirus was always going to divide opinion, with a Global Advisor poll published earlier this month showing 78% of Japanese people are against the Games taking place.

But other issues have also tarnished the largest sporting event in Japan’s history.

On Monday, the creative director for the music for the opening ceremony for both the Olympics and the subsequent Paralympics resigned over claims of bullying when he was in his teens.

Another comedian was also forced out after suggesting that a plus-size female model be dressed as a pig for the event.

Meanwhile, Covid takes its toll, with the total number of those associated with the Games to have coronavirus rising to 87 last week, with at least three of the cases detected within the Olympic Village.

The virus is continuing to spread among the Japanese public as well, with the more virulent Delta variant accounting for a majority of the new cases in Tokyo. Health authorities on Wednesday reported 1832 new cases in the capital, the highest single-day figure since mid-January and up by 683 cases from seven days previously.

Experts have warned that the situation is going to get worse in the short term. New cases could reach record highs of 2600 cases a day while the games are still on and put the nation’s medical facilities under extreme pressure.

And then there’s the heat. We might be melting in Scotland, but temperatures here are nothing compared to those in Tokyo, where there is growing concern over the heat and humidity levels that are higher than usual for this time of year.

So the Tokyo Olympics do not have their troubles to seek.

They have adopted the motto “United By Emotion”.

And these emotions are running higher, faster and stronger.