Tokyo Olympic Games open with toned-down ceremony
The biggest sporting event in the world 32nd Summer Olympic Games were officially declared open by IOC president Thomas Bach and the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito with a glittering opening ceremony in Tokyo on Friday.
The mega quadrennial event was held at the newly-built National Stadium in the Japanese capital. “United by Emotion” was the theme of the night. Naomi Osaka became the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron. Inspired by the sun, the Tokyo Olympic cauldron is designed to be better for the planet. It is the first powered by hydrogen.
The event opened with a countdown video dating back to the time when Tokyo won the bid to host the Games in 2013 before persevering through a year of postponement due to the pandemic. The final second of the countdown was a bird’s-eye view of the National Stadium, which resembled a zero when seen from above. The show began with a video of geometric shapes drawn on a blackboard in chalk. A hand-drawn animation set them into motion, and the shapes gradually turned into the National Stadium.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the Japanese flag entered the Olympic Stadium and after that, the light show began. A giant rotating Earth made of 1,824 drones appeared above Olympic Stadium.
Parade was led by Greece, home of the Ancient Olympic Games, while with host nation Japan entered the stadium last. The ceremony with an artistic display reflecting on the isolation witnessed globally over the past year. Performers were seen on treadmills and rowing machines, highlighting how athletes had been confined to working out by themselves. But at the same time, it highlighted how sports can serve as a mechanism to unite and bring people together in times of trouble. A moment of silence was also observed to remember the lives lost during the pandemic. During the ceremony, parading athletes observed physical distancing.
The toned-down opening ceremony highlighted Japan’s grandeur, rich culture, and legacy. Members of the Japanese self defense forces raised the national flag on the Protocol Stage as the national anthem ‘Kimi Ga Yo’ played in the background. The country’s famous singer Misia sang the national anthem.
The ceremony took place in presence of just a few hundred officials and dignitaries, French President Emmanuel Macron and US First Lady Jill Biden.
Boxing legend and London Games bronze medallist MC Mary Kom and men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh, India’s flagbearers, led the Indian contingent at the parade of nations. Altogether 19 Indian athletes and six officials made their way to the Olympic Stadium. Men were wearing a bandhgala suit with a traditional motif around the collar while the women wore a gold kurta set with blazers which sported the same motif as that of the men’s bandhgalas. The ceremony was held without spectators due to COVID-19. The country has a 228-strong delegation in Tokyo, including over 120 athletes.