TOKYO, Japan — Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach have arrived for the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Games.
Naruhito attended the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as a 4-year-old, watching the marathon and equestrian events. Bach won a gold medal in fencing at the 1976 Montreal Games.
They were followed by a delegation chosen to carry the Japanese flag into the stadium, before the host nation’s national anthem was performed by singer Misia.
Tributes were paid to those lost during the pandemic, and the Israeli delegation that was killed at the Munich Games in 1972. A moment of silence was offered inside the stadium.
As the music paused, the sounds of protests echoed in the distance.
The Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony started with a blaze of indigo and white fireworks lighting the night sky.
It began with a single female athlete at the center of the stadium, kneeling. As she stood, the shadow behind her took the shape of a seedling, growing as she walked. A number of athletes were featured in a video that started with the moment Tokyo won the Olympic bid in 2013, then eventually to images of a world silenced by the pandemic.
Then came the fireworks, a 20-second blast of light — as if to say these Olympics have finally emerged from dark times.