2020 Olympics opening ceremony takes place in Tokyo

Friday, July 23, 2021

The 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony took place today in Tokyo's National Stadium in Japan. Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, 23, lit the Olympic flame. Out of a seating capacity of 68,000, only the media and 900 dignitaries were able to watch in person. Originally due to take place in 2020, the games were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Japanese flag was carried in by athletes and healthcare workers. A moment of silence was then held to remember the victims of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Olympic athletes who had died, including the Israeli athletes who were murdered in 1972. The Olympic cauldron was represented as the sun on top of Japan's Mount Fuji, which then opened like a flower, symbolising "vitality and hope". The sky above the stadium was then lit by a revolving globe composed of 1,824 drones; this was followed by a performance of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Imagine by singers John Legend and Keith Urban.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said, "Today is a moment of hope. Yes, it is very different from what all of us had imagined. But let us cherish this moment because finally we are all here together." Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said, "Here is a vision for the future, one that embodies 'unity in diversity', one of peace and respect for one another" .

There were protests outside the stadium against the Olympics taking place due to the ongoing pandemic. A recent poll by Kyodo News among the Japanese found 32.1% believed the Olympics should be cancelled, and 87% were concerned about it being hosted due to the pandemic.