Tokyo 2020 is underway. This year’s opening ceremony started at 8pm local time at Tokyo’s National Stadium. The festivities were grand and technologically advanced as ever.
The most memorable image of the night might not have involved athletes. 1,824 drones, in the shape of a massive orb, lit up the night sky above the arena. The drone fleet took various forms throughout Friday’s ceremony.
🚨 Drone appreciation post! 🚨
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
After the initial entertainment, which included an elaborate pictogram show, participating nations and their Olympians were introduced. Global icons such as US Basketball’s Sue Bird received particularly raucous applause. Bird, a five-time Olympian, led her nation’s march around the stadium.
— WNBA (@WNBA) July 23, 2021
Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, representing this Olympics’ host nation, was this games’ final Olympic flame torchbearer. Osaka had the honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron, officially kicking off Tokyo 2020.
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) July 23, 2021
Other stars of Friday’s show include Tonga’s flagbearer, Pita Taufatofua, who has previously represented Tonga in Taekwondo and cross-country skiing. Taufatofua carried the Tongan flag at Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018.
Believe it. Pita Taufatofua, the shirtless Tongan flag-bearer from Rio 2016 has qualified for the Winter Olympics in cross-country skiing. pic.twitter.com/9PmaSulNHN
— ESPN (@espn) January 21, 2018
As tradition goes, Greece was the first country to walk in the parade of nations. After Greece, countries appeared in alphabetical order, with host Japan taking up the caboose.