- The Tokyo Olympics officially begin on Friday with the opening ceremony in Japan.
- The American flag bearers are Sue Bird (women’s basketball) and Eddy Alvarez (baseball).
- About 200 members of the US delegation are expected to parade.
TOKYO – The Olympics have officially arrived.
The Tokyo 2020 Summer Games begin with the Opening Ceremony, which will be broadcast live in the United States on Friday (7 a.m. ET, NBC), one day ahead of the originally scheduled 2020 date.
About 950 spectators, mostly dignitaries – like First Lady Jill Biden – and journalists, will be at the Olympic Stadium for the muted festivities. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said more than 200 athletes, led by flag bearers Sue Bird (women’s basketball) and Eddy Alvarez (baseball) are expected to parade at the ceremony.
Follow live updates from the Tokyo Olympics.
DISCOVER OUR GRAPHIC NOVEL: “Why Simone Biles is the GOAT”
INSIDE THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE: What is life like for Olympians in Tokyo?
Ralph Lauren Team USA Opening Ceremony Uniform
While the flag bearers will wear a white jacket, the rest of the US team were dressed by Ralph Lauren in a navy blazer (made from wool grown in the US), a striped t-shirt, d ‘a printed scarf, shoes and – it’s still a pandemic – mask. All materials have an element of sustainability and environmentalism.
Beginning of the parade of nations organized by Japanese alphabet
After an opening that lasted 45 minutes, shorter given the circumstances, the parade of nations began and should last two hours. As usual, Greece, where the modern Olympics began in 1896, was the first.
The order of nations will not be completely normal, as it goes in the alphabetical order of the host country. In this case, Iceland and Ireland went after the Refugee Olympic team, which walked in second. Another example: the Virgin Islands are ranked eighth.
The future host countries of the Summer Games parade towards the end of the program, that is to say that the United States (2028 Los Angeles) and France (2024 Paris) will precede the Japanese delegation, which will come last.
Tribute to the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964, history of Japan
Honoring the culture and tradition of Japan (ancient carpentry), a show symbolizing the “construction of the Games” was highlighted by the construction of the wooden Olympic rings. The venues and Olympic Village for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were constructed with wood from thinned trees from across Japan, to showcase Japanese wood culture.
The Japanese flag enters the stadium
After Emperor Naruhito and President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach took their places on the official grandstand, the flag was carried by a combination of four athletes, a person with a disability and a medical professional. A prayerful interpretation of the Japanese national anthem, performed by Misia, followed.
In the middle of the room is a small replica of Mt. Fuji, a landmark of the country.
Black musician says race played a role in opening ceremony pullout
Senegalese musician who has lived in Japan for more than two decades, Latyr Sy, said Tokyo 2020 organizers eliminated his role in the opening ceremony because of his running, according to The Independent.
The Independent reported that a member of the organizing committee raised concerns that his inclusion would mean having to hire more diverse faces.
“It’s totally racist,” Sy told the outlet. “I was told they said ‘Why this guy? Why this African? I saw a lot, felt a lot, but it just doesn’t match the Olympics. Why should I keep quiet?
“I’m afraid to speak but I’m just ready to let him out. I want to share my story. I’m not trying to blame anyone, we just need to let people know that this has happened.
Olympic organizers did not respond to requests for comment from The Independent.
Opening Ceremony begins on NBC
A “primordial motif” centered the opening of the ceremony. A countdown video showed athletes overcoming obstacles to reach the Olympic stadium, particularly in the past year and a half during the coronavirus pandemic.
Then, a scene illustrating the “apart but not alone” nature of the Games being played, highlighting the “light in the athletes”.
United States Men’s Gymnastics Team sets lineup
Sam Mikulak is still the backbone of the team.
Although he finished fourth at the Olympic trials, Mikulak will anchor the Americans in all six events during qualifying for the Tokyo Games on Saturday. National champion Brody Malone is third in each event.
Four gymnasts compete in each event during the qualifications, and the teams count their three best scores. Although strategies may differ, many teams will place their strongest or most consistent gymnast last.
Mikulak struggled at the national championships, where he was third, and at the trials. But he’s been the best American men have had for much of the past decade, a six-time national champion competing in his third Olympics, and that experience will be invaluable to the young American team.
The Olympics are the first major international competition for Malone, 21, who won his second NCAA title two months before the national championships. The other two team members, Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus, are also first-time Olympians, although both have competed at the world championships.
– Nancy Armor, USA TODAY
Greetings from the Tokyo Olympic Stadium!
The start of the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics is only an hour away and as the sun is just starting to rise on the east coast, it has already set here in Tokyo.
The delegations of athletes in the Traditional Parade of Nations are also expected to be noticeably smaller, due to COVID-19, as many athletes have yet to arrive. Organizers have called for athletes to arrive no earlier than five days before their first day of competition, largely to avoid overcrowding in the Olympic Village.
– Tom Schad, USA TODAY
Protesters march towards opening ceremony in Tokyo
The decision to hold the Games in the midst of a pandemic, with coronavirus cases reaching their highest total since January, has been unpopular among the Japanese population.
Protesters closed one of Tokyo’s busiest roads as they walked near the Tokyo opening ceremony, according to the Washington Post.
Official: 83% of American athletes vaccinated
USOPC Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Finnoff said here in Tokyo on Friday that about 83% of the US delegation, which officially consists of 613 athletes, has been vaccinated (around 600 have responded to requests for medical information ).
This means that around 100 athletes have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Our Christine Brennan writes: “By not getting the vaccine they have proven to be terrible teammates, potentially putting their fellow athletes at risk as they are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and potentially getting knocked out, as well as others of their events through contact tracing protocols. . “
American flag bearers Sue Bird, Eddy Alvarez
Bird had a few close friends to turn to after being selected as one of the US flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games.
Longtime Seattle Storm teammate Lauren Jackson, who carried her native Australian flag in 2012, texted her congratulations.
American coach Dawn Staley carried the flag at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the last time a basketball player had the honor.
“Dawn just gave me the best advice possible,” Bird said on Friday. “She said, ‘Look, the flag is not that heavy. Everything will be alright. “
She will be joined by Alvarez, silver medalist in speed skating at the Olympic Winter Games, as the flag bearer of the United States. Hours before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games here, Bird was eagerly awaiting the ceremony.
With coronavirus countermeasures in place, the ceremony will take place without fans and with only a few hundred VIPs. Even hours after the event, Bird was unsure of where the athletes would stand or what they would see of the procession from other countries.
“I hope Dawn hasn’t lied to me,” she said, “and I hope the flag is light.”
Learn more about the selection of Bird and Alvarez.
– Rachel Axon, USA TODAY
Men’s water polo player misses cut for March
Jesse Smith, five-time Olympian for the US men’s water polo team, missed the cup to walk during the opening ceremony due to COVID restrictions.
The water polo team were allocated 12 spots for their 13-man roster, leaving Smith to watch the festivities from the Olympic Village as he was not among the 12 active players declared for the opening game of the Sunday team against Japan.
Oddly enough, Smith, 38, was named the United States Men’s Flag Bearer before losing to baseball player Eddy Alvarez.
“Things quickly changed when I arrived in Tokyo when I found out that I wouldn’t be able to attend the opening ceremonies at all,” Smith wrote on Twitter.
He later addressed the issue at a team press conference hours before the ceremony began.
– Josh Peter, USA TODAY
Which American athletes will walk?
The USOPC provided the approximate number of 200, although it is not clear who will be there and what the exact number of participants will be.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams should parade. Gymnasts and most (if not all) of the US swim team should be successful. Do not rely on the presence of track and field athletes either; The vast majority of them won’t arrive in Tokyo until later this weekend, or early next week.