Pictograms become improbable MVPs
One of the most striking sequences of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics revolved around the pictograms. Tokyo organizers have touted their “kinetic pictograms,” which show numbers get moving in dozens of disciplines. For Friday’s ceremony, they brought 50 of these pictograms to life.
Dressed in austere shades of white and dark blue, their heads encased in large spheres, pictogram interpreters jumped on blocks and posed with props to play the iconography as upbeat techno-pop echoed in the background.
The performers are a collection of mimes and actors who normally work solo or in duo, Tokyo organizers said.
“Are they the real MVPs of the Opening Ceremony? »The Twitter feed of the Tokyo Olympics request.
The last time Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics was in 1964. It was also the year organizers launched the Olympic pictograms.
Pita from Tonga continues its Olympic tradition
A highly anticipated moment came halfway through the opening ceremony, when Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua once again vied for the limelight as he entered the stadium shirtless (and well-oiled).
This is the third consecutive Olympic appearance for Taufatofua, competing in taekwondo at the Rio Summer Games and cross-country skiing for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Along with Taufatofua, renowned athletes who have led their delegations include Japanese NBA star Rui Hachimura and Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
“Imagine” plays in an almost empty stadium
It is a tradition that the Olympic Opening Ceremonies culminate with a new take on “Imagine”, the call for unity written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The Tokyo version nurtured these international roots, with artists from different continents – Angélique Kidjo, John Legend and Alejandro Sanz exchanging verses.
The song began softly, with Suginami’s children’s choir singing its opening lines. From there, he became part of a global collaboration as the stars joined from a distance. The choir, whose members range from 3 years to university students, was formed in 1964, the same year that Tokyo last hosted the Olympics.
Naomi Osaka lights the cauldron
When the 2020 Olympic flame finally lit up a huge cauldron in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, it was illuminated by Naomi Osaka, the 23-year-old Japanese tennis superstar.
There was speculation that Osaka would have a role in the ceremony after organizers postponed its opening tennis match from Saturday to Sunday for no immediate reason. With the opening ceremony on Friday night in Tokyo, Osaka would have had little rest before a game on Saturday morning.
The Olympics will be Osaka’s first competition since it abandoned at Roland-Garros in May, after being sanctioned for refusing to attend post-match press conferences. She said she suffered from long periods of depression and felt intense anxiety when speaking to the press.
The lit Osaka Olympic cauldron is fueled by hydrogen. Sitting atop a structure reminiscent of Japan’s famous Mount Fuji, the cauldron was revealed after a huge white orb slowly opened, like a flower.
An athlete, alone, runs on a treadmill
The ceremony began with an art exhibit reflecting the isolation observed in the world over the past year. Performers were seen on treadmills and rowers, highlighting how the athletes had been confined to training alone.
But at the same time, he highlighted how sport can serve as a mechanism to unite and bring people together in times of turmoil.
A minute of silence was also observed to remember the lives lost during the pandemic.
“Yes, it is very different from what we all imagined,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee. noted. “But let’s cherish this moment because finally we’re all here together.”
Common flag bearers (for the most part) share their country’s flag
This is the first Olympic Games where male and female athletes could share the honors as common standard bearers. This has left pairs of athletes to find the best way to share their country’s only flag.
The results were mixed: some did so very politely, while others appeared to be vying to see who could wave the banner more vigorously. Some couples took turns holding the flag, while others maintained joint control.
Vigorous waving of the flag – and moments of apparent uncertainty – by Uruguayans Deborah Rodriguez and Bruno Cetraro Berriolo quickly trigger discussions, as people wondered if the pair could fight for control or to make sure their flag was straight.
The United States team enters the Olympic stadium
Flag bearers Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez led Team USA into the Olympic Stadium towards the end of the Parade of Nations – a location designated not by japanese alphabet but by the United States which is hosting the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Alvarez won a silver medal in speed skating at the 2014 Winter Games and is on the US baseball team in Tokyo. Sue Bird is a steadfast star in women’s basketball now in her fifth Olympics.
Alvarez is a Cuban-American who hope to become only the sixth athlete to have won a medal at the Winter and Summer Games.
A world of drones floats above the Olympic stadium
A glittering show took center stage during the opening ceremony: nearly 2,000 drones moving in perfect concert to form a rotating globe as they flew over Tokyo.
Exactly 1,824 drones were used to form the massive orb, floating above the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.
Remember those we lost
A Moment of silence took place around 20 minutes after the opening ceremony began on Friday, as Olympic organizers encouraged people around the world to take a private moment to remember loved ones they have lost.
The sparse crowd of participants in the stadium stood for the celebration.
Similar moments have taken place in previous Olympics – but this year’s one is particularly poignant, as the world mourns the millions of people who died during the pandemic.
The minute of silence also acknowledged the 1972 deaths of Israeli Olympic athletes killed by terrorists at the Munich Games. It was the first time the Olympics noted this massacre during an opening ceremony.
The ceremony was then marked by a striking kabuki performance, which set a serious tone for the jubilation on the grounds of the Olympic Stadium. This juxtaposition promises to be a recurring theme during the Olympic Games held in a city in a state of emergency due to COVID-19.
“This invigorating performance where tradition meets modernity contains our wish to cleanse the stadium of negative energy,” said the organizers, “while offering a prayer that all disasters and woes in the world come to an end.”
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