It’s been five years since the Rio Olympics ended. The expectation was that in 2020 Tokyo would receive the next edition, but a pandemic swept the world with Covid-19 and everything was canceled last year. After a year, Japan – even amid protests and criticism from the population – receives the Games that will be forever marked by the health crisis in the world. This Friday, the 23rd, from 8:00, am (GMT), the biggest sports competition on the planet will have its official start with the opening ceremony.

The Tokyo Olympic Stadium, newly built on the same site as the stadium that hosted the 1964 Games ceremony, will not be attended by the general public but will host more than 11,000 athletes from 206 nations, promising a lot of excitement.

In keeping with tradition, the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics will consist of artistic programming – always kept confidential – the parade of delegations, the lighting of the Olympic pyre, and the symbolic release of the doves of peace.

Where will the opening ceremony be held?

The Olympic Stadium will stage the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games on Friday, and it opened in December 2019 amid a series of criticisms for the cost that reached US$ 1.5 billion, more than R$ 5 billion in the price at the time. The old stadium on the same site was demolished to rebuild a new one.

The capacity of the Olympic Stadium is for 68,000 people, but it will not be attended by the public due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, in addition to the artists and production involved in the show, there will be a group of around 10,000 diplomats, foreign officials, sponsors and members of the International Olympic Committee.

Located in central Tokyo, the Olympic Stadium features an oval-shaped, wooden lattice design that evokes the traditional styles that appear in Japanese shrines. The roof is made of wood and steel. The stadium intends to blend in with the surrounding park and “restore the link that Tokyo lost with nature”.

Who planned the opening ceremony?

A number of changes took place in the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony creative team as the event was postponed by one year. In December 2020, the seven-person team formerly led by renowned Japanese actor Mansai Nomura has now given way to Hiroshi Sasaki.

Sasaki helped produce the Rio 2016 Games handing-over ceremony for the Tokyo Games, marked by the appearance of then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the character of the Mario Bros. video games. But Sasaki’s trajectory was short-lived. He resigned less than three months later after massive popular pressure after making a fat-phobic comment about actress and comedian Naomi Watanabe, popular in Japan.

With one more change, Italian Marco Balich took over the direction of the ceremony. He is the executive producer in partnership with the Japanese advertising company Dentsu. Balich has extensive experience in the production of Olympic ceremonies and was part of the Rio-2016 team. He has already said that the Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered at the opening ceremony in Tokyo.

– Certainly, the Olympic ceremony, which is a window for all of humanity, will have to reflect in some way or reference in some way what happened.

The most recent controversy was that the ceremony’s director, Kentaro Kobayashi, resigned from his post on the eve of the event . Kobayashi made fun of the Holocaust in 1998, and the episode came to light in a video. The announcement of his departure was given by the chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, Seiko Hashimoto.

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