Amid fireworks, Tokyo's opening ceremony beginsFriday, July 23, 2021
Tokyo, Japan -- With a blaze of indigo and white fireworks lighting the night sky, the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony has started.
It began with a single female athlete at the centre 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.
The International Olympic Committee has released the order of the parade of nations for the opening ceremony and the names of all the flagbearers.
Greece, per Olympic tradition, enters first. The host nation always enters last, so it'll likely take a couple hours or so before Japanese flagbearers Yui Susaki and Rui Hachimura lead their national contingent into the stadium.
The Refugee Olympic team goes second in the parade. The others are slotted by their order in the Japanese alphabet, so Iceland and Ireland precede Azerbaijan, for example.
The IOC says 206 teams — 205 nations and the refugee team — will be taking part in the opening ceremony. Some nations will have their flags carried by volunteers. Other nations will have only one flagbearer. Most will have two, with one male and one female athlete chosen for the role.
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