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The delayed 2020 Tokyo Games kicked off with the traditional opening ceremony.
The stands were largely empty due to COVID-19, but there were still some interesting performances.
Some countries, like France, made statements with their outfits during the parade of nations.
The Argentinian Olympic team paused to chant a national sports song during the parade of nations.
When Argentina entered the parade of nations, the whole team paused to jump together while chanting a national sports song.
But others online expressed concern over the team's lack of social distancing — a subject that's already fraught since many Japanese citizens didn't want the games to happen during the pandemic.
An Eritrean athlete took a rest on the ground after his country entered the stadium.
The opening ceremony is famously long as it features all of the teams competing in the games along with other rituals and entertainment acts.
That means countries at the beginning of the order for the parade of nations (determined this year by the Japanese alphabet) end up waiting in the stadium for a long time.
Although it's unclear who exactly it was, one Eritrean Olympian who entered near the start of the parade took the opportunity to lie down on the track while the rest of the countries filed in.
The Tokyo Olympics official Twitter account even took note of the athlete, tweeting, "Hang in there ... We're over halfway there!"
Mongolia entered the parade with its first female flag bearer in Olympic history.
This year, basketball player Khulan Onolbaatar became the first woman to carry the country's flag for the opening ceremony.
Mongolia has been participating in the Olympics since 1964, which was also hosted by Tokyo.
After finding out the news, Onolbaatar said, "Female Mongolian athletes have been performing really strong in international competitions. Becoming the first woman to carry the flag at the Olympics is such an honor. I am so just so proud right now," per FIBA.
She received the national flag from Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh on July 9 during an official ceremony.
The only athletes competing for Lesotho this year are married.
Lesotho only has two athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics: runners Khoarahlane Seutloali and 'Neheng Khatala.
The pair, who are husband and wife, marched through the parade of nations together as an Olympic representative carried their country's flag.
This year's US Olympic team is the second-largest in US history.
The opening ceremony is one of the only times during the games where fans can get a feel for how many athletes are competing for each country.
This year, per NBC, there is a roster of 627 athletes and alternates representing Team USA at the Tokyo Games, making it the second-largest team in US Olympic history.
The largest US team, which had 648 people, competed at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
A few notable US athletes skipped out on the opening ceremony.
Gymnast Simone Biles posted on her Instagram story that the US women's gymnastics team celebrated their own parade of nations around the Olympic Village instead of attending the ceremony.
She later explained during a Q&A that the team chose not to attend to give themselves more time to prepare for their early start the next day and avoid any risk of contracting COVID-19.
The US women's national soccer team also couldn't make it to the opening ceremony in between their first two matches of the Olympics. But players Megan Rapinoe and Abby Dahlkemper made sure to celebrate the event.
The team's official Twitter account posted a video of the players pretending to march in the parade of nations. Rapinoe even pretended to carry a flag, a nice touch seeing as one of the real US flag bearers at the event was her fiancée, Bird.
French athletes arranged themselves in the colors of the nation's flag for the parade.
Although some teams dressed their athletes in uniform looks for the parade of nations, France took a different approach to create a fun visual effect.
The French athletes wore either solid blue, white, or red, and the colors were arranged so that the crowd of Olympians behind the flag bearers resembled the nation's flag.
The height difference between the Japanese flag bearers made it hard for them to walk side by side.
The host country took its spot at the end of the parade of nations led by flag bearers Yui Susaki and Rui Hachimura.
But the two athletes struggled to carry the Japanese flag together, probably because of their nearly 2-foot height difference.
Japan's opening-ceremony outfits were inverted from the last time they hosted the Olympics in 1964.
When Tokyo last hosted the Olympic Games in 1964, the Japanese team paraded through the opening ceremony in white pants and red jackets.
This year, the host country inverted the outfits for the parade of nations. The athletes wore red pants and white jackets.
This wasn't the first time that "Imagine" was performed at an Olympic opening ceremony.
Famous musicians like John Legend, Keith Urban, and Angélique Kidjo collaborated to sing an "Imagine" video for the opening ceremony.
The John Lennon song was also previously performed at the 2018 winter games in PyeongChang, the 2012 summer games in London, the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
One TV commentator even said, "If the games were a song, 'Imagine' would be the song."
This year's ceremony featured plenty of empty seats due to COVID-19 restrictions.
After being delayed for a year, the 2020 Olympics announced that no spectators would be allowed at the games to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This includes the athletes' families, friends, and fans.
Still, there were a few hundred people in attendance at the opening ceremony, including US First Lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
Performers celebrated the pictogram system that was first created for Tokyo 1964.
The pictograms used to symbolize each sport at the Olympics were first introduced at the 1964 games in Tokyo as a way to aid communication between different countries.
At this year's opening ceremony, performers celebrated that history by recreating the iconic symbols after an animated introduction.
The Olympic flame spent a full year in a lantern due to pandemic delays.
The Olympic flame was first put on display in Japan in early 2020 before the games were postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In order to avoid relighting the torch from the source in Greece in 2021, organizers relocated the flame to the Japan Olympic Museum.
The flame was kept in a lantern until the relay to the Olympic Cauldron could start for the opening ceremony.
When it came time to light the cauldron, the honor — which usually goes to a former athlete or public figure from the host country — was bestowed on Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, who's competing in this year's games.
There were over 1,800 drones hovering above the stadium.
At the end of the televised program, the camera panned out to show off a lit-up globe made up of 1,824 drones hovering above National Stadium.
Read the original article on Insider