© Reuters. Ladies sporting conventional summer season Yukata kimonos and wigs bounce in entrance of the Nationwide Stadium, the principle stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan July 23, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato
By Antoni Slodkowski, Elaine Lies and Kiyoshi Takenaka
TOKYO (Reuters) -Thy sky over the Nationwide Stadium in Tokyo exploded in indigo and white as fireworks marked the beginning of the opening ceremony for the Olympics on Friday, celebrating the world’s greatest athletes set to compete amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Postponed for a yr, organisers have been compelled to take the unprecedented step of holding the Video games with out followers because the novel coronavirus is on the rise once more, taking lives around the globe.
Even the opening ceremony https://www.reuters.com/life-style/sports activities/tokyo-opening-ceremony-will-be-sobering-show-not-flashy-2021-07-21, usually a star-studded show teeming with celebrities was eerily silent, with fewer than 1,000 individuals in attendance, strict social distancing guidelines and indicators calling on the spectators to “be quiet across the venue.”
Regardless, it marks a coming collectively of the world, with an viewers of lots of of hundreds of thousands across the globe and at numerous phases of the pandemic tuning in to observe the beginning of the best present in sport.
Indigo and white are the colors of Tokyo’s Olympic emblem.
The opening video featured on the stadium recapped Japan’s path to the Video games and the challenges the world has confronted for the reason that choice of the Japanese capital as host in 2013.
It confirmed how in 2020 the coronavirus struck, with lockdowns forcing the unprecedented postponement solely 4 months earlier than the Video games have been purported to open, setting off a roller-coaster interval of uncertainty and preparations in isolation for the athletes.
A few of them are anticipated to make use of the ceremony to make statements about equality and justice and several other nations can be represented by a person and a girl after the organisers modified their guidelines to permit two flagbearers.
ECHO OF ’64
Japan had billed the Olympics as an echo of the 1964 https://www.reuters.com/life-style/sports activities/triumph-1964-olympics-covid-japan-then-now-2021-06-10 Tokyo Video games, which marked the nation’s return to the world stage after its devastating World Conflict Two defeat, however this time showcasing its restoration from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
Shortly earlier than the fireworks, the opening video was the dwell motion shot of the stadium the place a lone feminine athlete positioned her hand on the bottom over a single seed.
She then slowly stood up together with her shadow stretching out within the form of a seedling, underscoring the Video games’ theme of rebirth after the pandemic in addition to Japan’s reconstruction after the 2011 disasters.
Within the section highlighting the influence of the pandemic on the athletes and other people around the globe unable to see the Olympics in individual, the organisers confirmed a lone feminine athlete, Japanese boxer nurse Arisa Tsubata https://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-2020-tokyo-boxer-wider-image-idUSKBN2CT32I, coaching within the darkness, working silently on a treadmill.
Dozens of dancers moved about whereas projection mappings confirmed connections between them, highlighting how individuals around the globe, together with the athletes, have shaped recent connections on-line in the course of the lockdown.
The opening is happening with out the standard mass choreography, big props and cornucopia of dancers, actors and lights related to previous celebrations.
A vastly smaller variety of athletes will march within the groups’ parade, with many planning to fly in simply earlier than their competitions and depart shortly after to keep away from infections.
Solely 15 international leaders are in attendance, together with Japanese Emperor Naruhito, who will formally open the Video games as his grandfather Hirohito did in 1964, and U.S. First Girl Jill Biden.
The ceremony is marked by high-profile absences, together with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who wooed the Video games to Tokyo. A lot of high sponsors and financial leaders can even keep away, highlighting robust opposition to the sporting extravaganza in COVID-fatigued Japan.
A whole bunch of protesters carrying placards that learn “Lives over Olympics” protested across the venue. The protesters, a mixture of individuals in white surgical masks, yelled “Cease the Olympics” as they marched.
Solely a 3rd of the nation have had even one dose of vaccines, prompting worries the Video games may change into a super-spreader occasion. Greater than 100 individuals concerned with the Olympics have already examined constructive.
The Olympics have been hit by a string of scandals, together with the exit of senior officers over derogatory feedback about ladies, jokes in regards to the Holocaust and bullying.
The Video games run till Aug. 8.
About 11,000 athletes from 204 nationwide Olympic committees are anticipated, together with a staff of refugee athletes competing underneath the Olympic flag.