Olympics: Tokyo 2020 Holds Opening Ceremony
by Chidi Nwoke.
The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, which aspires to reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, began on Friday after a year-long wait due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The games also brings a sense of hope for the future and celebrate differences, to empathise, and to live side by side with compassion for one another.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will be unlike any other because they will take place in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, an obstacle far beyond anything the world has ever faced.
The ceremony in the 68,000-capacity stadium is taking place before just a few hundred officials and dignitaries, including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, French President Emmanuel Macron and US First Lady Jill Biden. The Emperor officially declared the Games open.
The honor of lighting the Olympic torch went to Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, a Grand Slam winner who has advocated for social justice and for athletes’ mental health.
The majority of the program was made up of the Parade of Athletes, which welcomed competitors arriving from around the globe. The ceremony preached a message of unity in adversity, while showcasing Japanese traditions and culture.
The Olympics have faced opposition in Japan over fears the global gathering of 11,000 athletes could trigger a surge in the spread of COVID-19. However, organisers have put strict virus measures in place, banning overseas fans for the first time ever, and keeping domestic spectators out of all but a handful of venues.
Athletes, support staff and media are subject to strict COVID-19 protocols, including regular testing and daily health checks.
New Olympic sports will also be on display in Tokyo, with surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing and karate all making their debut.
Follow the Olympic Games on Voice of Nigeria for updates, results and more.