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Highlights Of The Tokyo Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony : The Picture Show : NPR

Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony.

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony.

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Fireworks soared above Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium Friday, as the delayed Summer Games finally held its opening ceremony — an event that culminates in lighting the Olympic cauldron.

Athletes marched in front of thousands of empty seats, as only a sparse crowd was admitted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Those attending included first lady Jill Biden, who chatted with French President Emmanuel Macron.

A standout moment came midway through the event, when Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua once again vied to steal the show by marching into the stadium bare-chested (and oiled).

This year’s ceremony also brought a poignant moment of silence, as organizers encouraged people to remember loved ones who were lost to the pandemic.

Despite the cloud cast by the coronavirus — from the one-year postponement to a ban on spectators — athletes showed their excitement to finally be at the Olympics, bouncing and bounding across the stadium floor to open the Games.

Performers dance during the Opening Ceremony.

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Performers dance during the Opening Ceremony.

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Tokyo was to host the 2020 Summer Olympics from July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020, however because of the COVID-19 pandemic the games have been postponed for a year and are due to take place from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.

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Tokyo was to host the 2020 Summer Olympics from July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020, however because of the COVID-19 pandemic the games have been postponed for a year and are due to take place from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.

Sergei Bobylev/TASS

Supporters standing outside take pictures of the fireworks lighting up the sky over the Olympic Stadium.

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Supporters standing outside take pictures of the fireworks lighting up the sky over the Olympic Stadium.

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Team Ireland flagbearers Kellie Harrington and Brendan Irvine carry the Irish tricolour.

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Team Ireland flagbearers Kellie Harrington and Brendan Irvine carry the Irish tricolour.

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Performers are seen during the Opening Ceremony.

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Performers are seen during the Opening Ceremony.

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General view inside the stadium as fireworks are seen during the Opening Ceremony.

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Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The Japanese National Flag is brought onto the stage during the Opening Ceremony.

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Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The Olympic Cauldron is seen as the Japanese Flag is raised during the National Anthem.

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The Olympic Cauldron is seen as the Japanese Flag is raised during the National Anthem.

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A performer is seen acting during the Opening Ceremony.

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A performer is seen acting during the Opening Ceremony.

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A traditional song is performed during the show.

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A traditional song is performed during the show.

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An overview shows the Japanese national flag being raised during the opening ceremony.

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An overview shows the Japanese national flag being raised during the opening ceremony.

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Performers are seen during the Opening Ceremony.

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Performers are seen during the Opening Ceremony.

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Flag bearers Anna Korakaki and Eleftherios Petrounias of Team Greece lead their teammates out during the Opening Ceremony.

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Flag bearers Anna Korakaki and Eleftherios Petrounias of Team Greece lead their teammates out during the Opening Ceremony.

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A general view outside the stadium as fireworks are let off during the Opening Ceremony.

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A general view outside the stadium as fireworks are let off during the Opening Ceremony.

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