19:28 / 23.07.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

Spectatorless Ceremony kicks-off Tokyo Olympic Games

Croatian athletes at the Opening Ceremony

Croatian athletes at the Opening Ceremony

Foto: Igor Kralj / PIXSELL

The Opening Ceremony kicked off the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics on Friday, after a year-long delay due to the pandemic.

Following the official opening and the lighting of the Olympic flame, a parade of athletes walked through a nearly-empty stadium because spectators are banned from all venues due to rising COVID-19 cases in Japan. Organizers placed different colored coverings on the seats in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium in order to make it look as if it was full of spectators.

As is tradition, the first athletes to walk through were from Greece, followed by Japan. Croatia marched 62nd, led by flagbearers Sandra Perković and Josip Glasnović, both gold medalists from Rio. Behind them was around one-third of the Croatian team that will be competing. Some athletes sat out the ceremony because they are competing on Saturday. Croatia’s former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, now a member of the International Olympic Committee, was one of the 950 VIPs who were invited to the ceremony. She greeted the team as they passed by.

One of the most memorable images from the ceremony was the sight of 1,842 drones flying above the stadium to forming the Tokyo 2020 logo and then transform into planet Earth. There were musical performances by Angelique Kidjo, Alejandro Sanz, John Legend, and Keith Urban.

The Games were officially declared open by Japan’s Emperor Naruhito. The Olympic Cauldron was lit by tennis player Naomi Osaka, who is representing Japan.

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