Tokyo, Jul 23 (EFE).- The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games officially got underway Friday with a pared back opening ceremony held behind closed doors save for a small delegation of special guests and dignitaries.
The traditional cultural spectacles staged by the host nation and the Parade of Nations played out in front of an empty Olympic Stadium in Tokyo due to a last minute decision to keep crowds away from the events to stem a spike in Covid-19 cases in Japan’s capital, where a state of emergency is in place.
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito declared the Games officially open and Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic Cauldron, which was designed to represent Mount Fuji.
A message of unity was especially poignant at the ceremony following more than a year of pandemic, which forced the postponement of the Games originally slated for last year.
This motif was captured by a performance of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Imagine, which involved the children taking part in the ceremony along with pre-recorded contributions from John Legend, Alejandro Sanz, Angelique Kidjo and Keith Urban.
During the song, 1,824 drones took to the skies above the stadium in a synchronized show in which they transformed from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo to a 3D rendition of the Earth.
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach underlined the difficulties involved in staging the Olympics during the pandemic, something that has sparked protest in Tokyo in recent weeks.
“The pandemic forced us apart, to keep our distance from each other,” Bach said. “ But today, wherever in the world you we may be we’re united in sharing this moment together. The Olympic flame makes this light shine brighter for all of us.” EFE