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Tokyo Olympics begin with colorful ceremony at empty stadium



Tokyo Olympics begin with colorful ceremony at empty stadium

In an Olympics opening ceremony overshadowed by the coronavirus, Tokyo 2020 organizers paid tribute to medical staff on Friday as athletes from around the world marched through a nearly empty stadium, their smiles hidden behind masks for the first time.

Normally a star-studded exhibit teeming with celebrities, the ceremony was stripped of its pomp, with fewer than 1,000 people in attendance, strict social distancing rules and signs calling on spectators to “be silent around the venue.”

Organizers also sent the traditional message of peace as global pop stars sang “Imagine” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, as drones formed the shape of the Olympic emblem in the sky above the stadium and transformed. globe shaped.

“With the world in a difficult situation because of the coronavirus pandemic, I would like to pay tribute and express my gratitude to the medical workers and all those who work hard every day to overcome the difficulties,” said the chairman of the committee of organization. , Seiko Hashimoto.

Most countries were represented by male and female flag bearers at an Olympic first, but not everyone has taken action in the event of a pandemic.

Teams from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistani flag bearers marched maskless in an awkward contrast to protocol and the vast majority of other athletes present at the ceremony.

Either way, it marked a coming together of the world, with an audience of hundreds of millions across the globe and at different stages of the pandemic, tuned in to watch the start of the sport’s biggest spectacle. .

Members of the Canadian delegation wore rainbow patches, the symbol of the LGBT community, on their jackets.

The First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, applauded the Americans, as did the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, for the France team.

The Olympic Oath, recited by athletes at the end of the parade, was updated for the Tokyo Games, with athletes swearing their commitment to inclusion, equality and non-discrimination for the first times at the Olympics.

The vernissage also featured fireworks in indigo and white, the colors of the Tokyo 2020 emblem, and was a nod to Japanese tradition represented by giant wooden Olympic rings linked to the 1964 Games.

A much smaller number of athletes marched in the parade of teams, with many coming just before their competitions and having to leave soon after to avoid infections.

Delegations did their best to liven up the mood. Uganda, dressed in brightly colored traditional costumes, performed a few bars of a dance, as the Argentine delegation jumped up and down as they entered.

The Nigerian contingent was also fully represented in their green and white attire. (Reuters / NAN) ()

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