The Tokyo Olympics 2020 officially begin after a colorful opening ceremony

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    Tokyo 2020 organisers paid thanks to medical personnel at an opening ceremony clouded by the coronavirus on Friday, as athletes from around the world strolled into an almost empty stadium, their smiles concealed behind masks for the first time.

    With less than 1,000 people in attendance, rigorous social distancing regulations, and signs asking viewers to “be quiet around the venue,” the ceremony, which is usually a star-studded affair brimming with celebrities, was stripped of its glamour.

    Global music singers sang John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Imagine” in the sky above the stadium, as drones formed the shape of the Olympic emblem in the sky above the stadium and then turned into the shape of the world.

    “With the globe in such a difficult condition as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, I’d like to offer my respects and express my thanks to medical workers and all those who are working tirelessly every day to solve the challenges,” said Seiko Hashimoto, president of the organizing committee.

    In an Olympic first, most countries had both male and female flagbearers, but not everyone followed pandemic precautions.

    In an embarrassing contrast to protocol and the great majority of other athletes at the ceremony, flagbearers from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan paraded without masks.

    Regardless, it was a global coming together, with hundreds of millions of people tuning in from all around the world at various phases of the pandemic to watch the commencement of sport’s greatest show.

    On their coats, members of the Canada delegation sported rainbow patches, which are a symbol of the LGBT community.

    Jill Biden, the first lady of the United States, applauded the Americans, while Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, applauded the French team.

    For the first time in the Olympics, the Olympic oath, repeated by the athletes at the end of the march, has been modified, with participants swearing their commitment to inclusion, equality, and non-discrimination.

    The opening ceremony also featured fireworks in the Tokyo 2020 symbol colors of indigo and white, as well as a reference to Japanese history represented by gigantic wooden Olympic rings from the 1964 Games.

    A significantly lesser number of athletes marched in the teams’ parade, with many arriving shortly before their competitions and departing soon after to avoid infection.

    Delegations made every effort to lighten the tone. Uganda performed a few measures of a dance in vivid traditional attire, as the Argentine delegation bounced up and down upon entrance.

    The Nigerian contingent, dressed in green and white, was also well-represented. (NAN)

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