Covid Safe Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony was as Covid safe as could be. Masks were a universal attire, with athletes and delegates all covered up. With no fans in the stadium, it was a different spectacle throughout the night.
Although there was still some crowd support from individual countries’ delegates, the lack of outside crowd was felt with empty seats clear throughout the night.
This all served to further highlight the unusual circumstances of these Olympic Games.
Apart But Not Alone
Moving forward was the theme of the Opening Ceremony, and the opening sequence was packed with symbolic imagery of the times the world lives in currently.
With technology connecting people more than ever, a familiar scene was on display, with dancers and performance artists acting out the connections formed from far away.
The Japanese flag was raised, and the Japanese national anthem was sung, but the messages were clear; the world is all connected by the Olympics, no matter which country, and no matter how far from Tokyo.
The unity of common emotion was clear, as the ceremony got underway.
One powerful moment was the emotional and moving acknowledgement of the 12 Israeli athletes killed at the Olympics in Munich in 1972.
Alongside those who have tragically lost their lives to Covid-19, they were commemorated with a moment of silence, followed by a heartfelt performance in their honour.
Five Wooden Rings
A memory of the past took centre stage during the Ceremony.
In 1964, seeds were planted by international athletes in commemoration of the first Tokyo Olympics, and over 50 years later, they returned when the Olympic rings went on display.
With the rings being made from the wood from the trees that grew from the seeds planted all those years ago, the first Tokyo Olympics met the second in remarkable and fascinating fashion.
The colourful display during the Parade of Nations is breathtaking. More than 200 nations and the Refugee Olympic Team entered the arena and waved their flag, showing their national pride off to the world.
It is also an opportunity for all nations to see them as they wear their ceremony outfits with honour for the country they represent on the world stage.
Some were traditional, some were colourful, but all showed hallmarks of the nations they represented.
Alongside 61 of their fellow Australian competitors, Patty Mills and Cate Campbell had the honour of leading Australia during the Parade of Nations.
Mills’ indigenous heritage was on full display in a mask and necklace combination, as he made history as Australia’s first indigenous male flag bearer. Campbell was no less special, the first female swimmer to carry the flag at the Opening Ceremony.
And as they held the flag aloft as they walked along the path, both swung the flag with energy and pride.
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Refugee Olympic Team
The stories of Olympians are incredible enough, but for the Refugee Olympic Team, their stories are extra special. Appearing at the Olympics for a second time, the Refugee Olympic Team has grown from 10 athletes at Rio 2016, to 29 at Tokyo.
Athletes came from 11 countries, including Afghanistan and Venezuela. They were led by their flagbearers, Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini and Eritrean marathon runner Tachlowini Gabriyesos.
Video games soundtrack the parade
The Parade of Nations was soundtracked by some of Japan’s greatest exports: video games.
Soundtracks came from some of the most popular Japanese video game franchises, including Final Fantasy’s Victory fanfare, Kingdom Hearts’ Olympus Coliseum theme and Sonic the Hedgehog’s Star Light Zone theme.
Pictograms: Picture Perfect
A late highlight of the ceremony was a pictogram segment, which involved a person acting out shapes.
During the sequence, 50 sports were demonstrated in spectacular fashion, from Badminton to Skateboarding by human pictograms.
The pictograms were fast-paced, and very cleverly done, and showcased more than just the sports of the Olympics, by also highlighting the talent of those that performed them.
Osaka Lights the Cauldron
To cap off an opening ceremony like none before was the lighting of the Cauldron. A highlight of every Games, this was the culmination of the global journey to the Olympics.
The one given the honour for these Olympics was tennis star Naomi Osaka, who ascended the golden stairs to the cauldron, officially launching the games of the XXXII Olympiad.
And capping off the Opening Ceremony in style.
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