The rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games was officially opened on Friday with Naomi Osaka the torch-bearer as the COVID-19-paused event finally got underway in very muted circumstances just as the IOC president, Thomas Bach alluded to in his speech.

Bach said, “Today is a moment of hope. Yes, it is very different from what all of us had imagined but let us cherish this moment because finally, we are all here together.”

There were less than 1000 spectators in the stadium and they were mostly media people and organisers of the event. Aruna Quadri, Team Nigeria’s flag-bearer, entered the arena at exactly 1:52 pm as the country started the 17th Olympic Games expedition.

The ceremony also included Kabuki theatre, which is supposed to dispel negative vibes.

There were video appearances from a diverse international lineup that included African songstress Angelique Kidjo, multi-award-winning American artiste, John Legend, and country music legend, Keith Urban.

The scenario would not be complete without some robotics and the organisers did not disappoint. There was a display by human figurines, whose start colouration in blue and white contributed to the robotic imitation. They created all forms and imitated different sports postures.

Just before the stadium torch was lit, there was a live musical performance from concert pianist Hiromi Uehara, which heralded Osaka’s climb up the stairs to light the torch. The tennis player follows the path trodden by greats like Mohamed Ali and Wayne Gretzky.

“The pandemic forced us to keep apart, to keep our distance from each other but today, wherever in the world you may be, we are united in sharing this moment together,” Bach said as part of his opening speech.

We will be rooting for the athletes as they chase medals and podium places until August 8 when the event concludes.


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