The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is scheduled for July 23. The ceremony will be held at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium. The opening ceremony of an Olympic Games welcomes the participating athletes, spectators, dignitaries, and match officials.
It is also a ceremony that highlights the culture and traditions of the host city and country. The ceremony is also the the time to reflect on the values of the Olympic Games.
But the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games will be a tad different from the usual ceremonies.
Here are five reasons why the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games will not be anything like ever seen before
#1. Two flag bearers
Traditionally, at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, there is one flag bearer for every participating nation. They lead their Olympic contingent and carries their country's national flag.
But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) wants the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games to be different. They want to use the opening ceremony to send out the message of gender balance.
Hence, the Executive Board of the IOC approved a change to the IOC’s protocol guidelines to allow one female athlete and one male athlete of each of the participating countries to bear the flag jointly during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Summer Games.
So, this time around, there will be two athletes leading their countries Olympic contingent at the ceremony.
#2. Reworked oath and oath taking ceremony
Carrying the idea of gender equality further, the IOC has also decided to tweak the oath taking ceremony at the opening ceremony. Hence there will be one male and one female representing each of the three groups: the athletes, the coaches and the judges.
Till the Rio Games, the Opening ceremony had only three oath takers. Also, two new words have been added to the opening line of the oath. The two new words are 'inclusion' and 'equality'.
The opening line of the oath will now read as:
"We Olympians are role models and ambassadors. We stand together to send out to the world a powerful message of equality, inclusion, solidarity, peace and respect."
#3. Coronavirus pandemic reference
Tokyo Olympics 2020, are the first Summer Games since the 1944 London Games to have been postponed. The Games got delayed by a year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This pandemic has been the worst in almost a century, and has affected and altered the lives of people globally.
The world of sport also took a hit as several big-ticket events, which were originally scheduled for 2020 got pushed to 2021.
Marco Balich, the executive producer of the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony, hinted that the Coronavirus pandemic could be highlighted at the ceremony.
"I think for sure the Olympic Ceremony, which is a window of all humanity, will have to reflect somehow or reference somehow what has happened," Marco Balich told Reuters in an interview.
There are strong rumors that Japan's cult figures like Super Mario, Hello Kitty and Captain Tsubasa will also be highlighted at the Opening ceremony.
#4. Opening Ceremony behind closed doors
With Tokyo being in a state of emergency to curtail the spread of coronavirus infection, spectators have been banned from the Olympic venues in Tokyo. The same rule would apply for the opening ceremony too.
The Organizing Committee for the Tokyo Games is also strongly considering less than 1,000 VIPs and foreign officials at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony. The fans will have to watch the ceremony on TV.
#5. No torch relay on public roads in Tokyo
The Olympic torch relay is an integral part of every opening ceremony. Before the Olympic Games, the Olympic torch is lit in Greece, after which it travels to several countries, before arriving in the host city.
The arrival of the Olympic torch in the host city is celebrated with much fanfare. The public of the host city is encouraged to witness the torch relay from up close. However, for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games, as the Olympic torch finally arrives in Tokyo, all of the original routes along public roads have been canceled as the city authorities act to avoid large gatherings amid an increase in coronavirus infections.
The entire torch relay is being streamed live on the the Olympic website and fans are being encouraged to enjoy the relay on screens.