Olympics opening ceremony
Olympics opening ceremony
Jamie Squire/ File photo

The world had to wait an extra year for the Tokyo Olympics — since they were postponed until July 23 due to raging pandemic.

But before the much-awaited Olympics truly get underway, the Games will kick off with a highly-anticipated Opening Ceremony. The Opening Ceremony has been an integral part of every Olympics since the first modern games were held in Athens in 1896.

The Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony will be comprised of a number of key events, artistic programmes, athletes’ parades, the lighting of the Olympic torch and the symbolic release of the doves.

The Games will kick off on July 23 from the newly-built National Stadium while the closing ceremony will take place on August 8.

Here’s a complete guide to this year’s Opening Ceremony in 2021:

When is the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony?

The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics will begin at 8 pm local time or 4:30 pm Indian Standard Time on July 23.

Where will the Opening Ceremony be held?

Aerial view of Japan's New National Stadium in the Shinjuku
Aerial view of Japan's New National Stadium in the Shinjuku
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The 2021 Opening Ceremony will be held at Japan’s New National Stadium in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo. The $1.5-billion, three-tiered complex was expected to seat 68,000 but the capacity was reduced to 58,000 for the 2020 Paralympics to create more room for handicap accessible seating.

Who will attend the Opening Ceremony?

Since the games will no longer have fans, a group of around 950 diplomats, foreign dignitaries, Olympic sponsors and members of the IOC will now be the only spectators in attendance.

Where to watch: Sony and DD Network

What can we expect from the Opening Ceremony?

The Tokyo Organising Committee has laid out a policy for the overall concept of the Tokyo Olympics.

It lists peace, coexistence, reconstruction, future, Japan and Tokyo, athletes, involvement and excitement as the core themes to highlight throughout the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

As the Olympic Charter mandates, the 2021 Opening Ceremony will combine formal ceremonial proceedings with an artistic programme that showcases the history and culture of Japan.

It will include the entry of Japanese head of state Yoshihide Suga, a performance of Japan’s national anthem, the parade of the athletes, the symbolic release of doves, the opening of the Games by Abe, the raising of the Olympic flag and performance of the Olympic anthem, the taking of the Olympic oath by an athlete, the taking of the Olympic oath by an official, the taking of the Olympic oath by a coach, and the Olympic flame and torch relay.

Details of the artistic programme are usually kept secret until the day of the performance, but as was true for the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony, Tokyo’s will likely feature thousands of performers outfitted in intricate costumes, elaborate set pieces, spectacular music and dance numbers, and appearances by renowned Japanese celebrities.

Who will attend the ceremony?

Former Japan PM Shinzo Abe came dressed as Mario at 2016 Rio closing ceremony
Former Japan PM Shinzo Abe came dressed as Mario at 2016 Rio closing ceremony

More than 11,000 athletes from 206 nations are expected to attend the Tokyo Opening Ceremony. However, unlike in years past, there won’t be any general public spectators.

History of the Olympics Opening Ceremony?

The Opening Ceremony has been an integral part of every Olympics since the first modern games were held in Athens in 1896. The ceremony represents the official start of an Olympic Games and showcases the national identity of the hosts on a global stage.

“The protocol and splendor of the Olympic ceremonies, which go hand-in-hand with the celebration of the Games as everyone knows them today, make this event unique and unforgettable,” the Olympic Charter reads.

With each successive Games, the Opening Ceremony grows into a bigger and grander event that now attracts tens of millions of viewers worldwide.

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