Daily US Times: Belated and beleaguered, the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics finally begin Friday night with made-for-TV choreography and cascading fireworks that unfolded in a near-empty stadium. A colorful but strangely subdued ceremony that set a striking tone to match a unique pandemic-hit Games.
As their opening played out, devoid of the usual crowd, the Tokyo Olympics convened amid simmering disbelief and anger in much of Japan, but organizers are hoping that the excitement of the sports to follow would offset the widespread opposition.
Trepidations throughout the host country have threatened for months to drown out the usual carefully packaged glitz of the opening. However, inside the stadium after dusk Friday, a precisely calibrated ceremony sought to portray that the Games — and their spirit — are going on.
Early on the opening ceremony, an ethereal blue light bathed the empty seats in the stadium as loud music muted the shouts of scattered protesters outside calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled — a widespread sentiment here. A single stage held an octagon shape in the stadium meant to resemble Japan’s fabled Mount Fuji. Later, an orchestral medley of songs from iconic video games of the country that served as the soundtrack for athletes’ entrances.
In their usual parade, athletes marched into the stadium, waving enthusiastically to thousands of empty seats and to a world hungry to watch them compete but surely wondering what to make of it all.
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