The excitement of the Tokyo Olympics is still fresh in the memory. The Summer Games, which concluded in August, were a success despite grave doubts about staging them during a global pandemic. Now, attention turns to the Winter Games in Beijing. The Olympic flame arrived in the capital city on Wednesday, following the traditional lighting ceremony in Greece. The Tokyo experience has highlighted the challenges of hosting a spectacular sports event while seeking to curb the spread of Covid-19. The Beijing Games, which open in February, will also need to strike a careful balance. China expects to host 2,900 athletes from 85 countries and territories. There will be no spectators from overseas. Once again the family and friends of most participants will have to watch broadcasts from afar. This is sad but necessary given the risks. The intention is to allow domestic fans to attend, so long as they comply with anti-Covid-19 measures. This means no empty stadiums of the kind witnessed in Tokyo. The presence of spectators will, hopefully, create a vibrant atmosphere and spur on the athletes. Competitors, support staff and officials from overseas will need to meet strict requirements before being allowed to enter the “bubble” created for the Games. Vaccinations are not mandatory, but anyone who has not had the jabs will be required to undergo 21 days in quarantine. Care will be taken to limit the movement of those inside the bubble, which will open in January and not close until the end of the Winter Paralympics on March 13. Games organisers are understandably under great pressure to ensure there is no outbreak. Olympic cauldron lit in Beijing as protesters face court in Athens The lighting ceremony in Athens saw protests from activists, including one from Hong Kong, calling for the Games to be boycotted because of alleged human rights abuses, which are denied by Beijing. Some rights groups and US lawmakers have also called for a boycott. But politics should play no part in sport. The Games offer a rare opportunity to bring nations and people together in accordance with the Olympic spirit. This is more important than ever at a time of global tensions. It is to be hoped the Games proceed successfully and safely. They should live up to their motto of “together for a shared future”.