After a year of delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games kicked off with a rather ‘low key’ ceremony on Friday without fans.
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito officially declared the Games opened as participating countries all over the world marched with their flags raised to the atmosphere in great excitement.
Members of the Nigerian contingents to the Games, popularly referred to as Team Nigeria, was led by Long Jump star, Ese Brume as he cheerfully waved the green and white flag of Nigeria.
Team Nigeria will be competing in its 17th Olympics and has a total of 60 athletes taking part in 10 sports.
However, the ceremony began by highlighting a year spent training in partial or complete isolation, featuring performers running on treadmills and riding stationary bikes in the middle of the vast Japan National Stadium.
After the performance and playing of the Japanese national anthem, a moment of silence was held for victims of the pandemic and of the terrorists attack on the Israeli national team at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
There will be more than 300 medal events taking place across more than 30 sports during the Olympics this year.
Though certain competitions like women’s football, football, rowing, archery and softball, have already begun ahead of the ceremony, most games will officially begin after the opening ceremony.
More than 50,000 visitors are converging on Tokyo, including 11,000 athletes from 200 countries (613 of them are U.S. athletes). About half will participate in Friday’s parade of nations in a largely empty stadium that was intended to seat 68,000.
The games are estimated to have cost more than $20 billion, nearly three times the initial $7.4 billion projection, The Wall Street Journal reported. More than $3 billion was paid by Japanese sponsors, including Toyota Motor, which pulled its Olympics ads in Japan.
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By Augustine Akhilomen