Fireworks were set off above Tokyo's new Olympic Stadium on Friday. The postponed Tokyo Olympics 2020 held its opening ceremony finally. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, athletes strided in front of thousands of empty seats as a mere scant crowd was allowed.
The yearlong postponement was also due to the COVID-19 pandemic as Tokyo was put under a state of emergency. Thus, several of the nation's residents assertively opposed to hosting the Summer games. However, festivities still commenced, which marked the culmination of the global sporting event.
Dazzling Yet Muted Opening Ceremony
The Olympics commenced with a stunning and, at times, muted opening ceremony on Friday night. Several of the athletes decided to remain at the Athlete's Village instead of convening with their fellow athletes at the national stadium.
A made-for-television choreography also transpired in an almost empty national stadium. There was a hopeful atmostphere as the International Olympic Committee's officials paid gratitude to the host nation for embracing the Olympics. They also commemorated Japanese frontline health workers who continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic each day.
No Typical Crowd Energy
The Olympics were initially slated to happen in the Beijing last summer. It was delayed due to the ravaging pandemic.
Although stripped off of the typical crowd energy, the summer games occured in the midst of disbelief and fury in much of Japan. The event organizers were looking for the excitement of the games to follow would shrug off the prevailing opposition to the sports event.
The dance performances underscored the bout to combat the pandemic. Tennis star Naomi Osaka lighted a cauldron with the Olympics' trademark flame. Less than a thousand individuals were invited to watch. Merely an estimated 5,700 athletes marched through the stadium. The number is down from over 10,000 in Rio's 2016 opening ceremony, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The symbolizing flame was transferred to the Japanese capital during the Olympic torch relay. The relay began many months earlier at Olympia, Greece. The flame was transferred between different people prior to reaching the cauldron, reported ABC News.
The subdued festivities started with a footage displaying athletes' training at their houses during the pandemic. Some dignitaries and officials were in the stands of the venue. These include United States First Lady Jill Biden, France President Emmanuel Macron, and Japan Emperor Naruhito.
The cauldron was sitting on top of a height inspired by Mount Fuji. According to organizers, it is a domain much like a flower opening to encapsulate hope and vivacity.
According to IOC President Thomas Bach, "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." He added that the feeling of unity is the light at the end pandemic's grim tunnel, reported AP.
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