Tokyo Olympics 2020 Opening Ceremony: As it happened


23rd, July 2021, 8:56 pm

Time for us to bring this blog to an end. Thank you for joining us, and we hope to see you tomorrow (July 24) as we follow the live action on Day 2 of the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Sayonara!

Down to business: Day 2 schedule

23rd, July 2021, 8:48 pm

After the fun, it's time for the games! Action begins early tomorrow (July 24)  and India will have medal hopes from many of those in action, including the shooters and Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting). Have a look at the complete schedule here. 

Recap of Day 1

23rd, July 2021, 8:56 pm

Just before the Opening Ceremony, the Archery individual ranking rounds took place on Day 1 morning. India's Deepika Kumari finished 9th, while archers Pravin Jadhav, Atanu Das and Tarundeep Rai came 31st, 35th and 37th, respectively. You can look back at all the updates here

India's flag bearers

23rd, July 2021, 8:48 pm

Best moments from the Opening Ceremony

23rd, July 2021, 8:42 pm

Here are some of the most remarkable bits of the Opening Ceremony - 

The fireworks. 

The pictograms. 

The drone show. 

And of course, the entry of our very own Indian athletes!

The Opening Ceremony comes to an end

23rd, July 2021, 8:28 pm

And with that, and some more impressive fireworks, the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 comes to an end. Given the challenges of organizing these Games amidst a global pandemic, Japan have put up quite a beautiful show.   

Naomi Osaka lights the flame

23rd, July 2021, 8:18 pm

And it's Naomi Osaka who gets to light the Olympic flame! The young tennis sensation and four-time Grand Slam champion seems to be the perfect choice to do the honours. 

The Olympic Flame

23rd, July 2021, 8:15 pm

The torch has entered the stadium and is now being taken around. It has been designed in the shape of a cherry blossom flower, a symbol of Japan. The official website also informs us that the torch has been created in a traditional form, taking advantage of the same aluminum extrusion manufacturing technology used in the production of the Shinkansen Bullet Train.


Doves and.. Pictograms

23rd, July 2021, 8:08 pm

A symbolic release of doves, and then a really cool pictogram show by performers in blue and white depicting each of the Olympic disciplines. And then it's time for some more performances. First comedy, a tour of the venues around Japan, and now some energetic piano music. 

Almost time to find out who will light the Olympic flame…

The Games are declared open!

23rd, July 2021, 7:47 pm

"I declare open the Games of Tokyo, celebrating the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era."

The Emperor of Japan has declared the Games open! And now the Olympic flag is being brought in… Next up is the Olympic anthem. 

A moment of hope

23rd, July 2021, 7:42 pm

“Today is a moment of hope,” says Thomas Bach. “Let us cherish this moment, because finally we are here, all together. This is the unifying power of sport. This is the message of solidarity, the message of peace and the message of resilience. This gives all of us hope for our further journey together.” 


23rd, July 2021, 7:36 pm

Up in the sky... Imagine!

23rd, July 2021, 7:27 pm

Okay, easily one of the most impressive moments on the night. Some 1,800 lit drones have come together beautifully to form a striking globe and the Tokyo 2020 emblem above the stadium. This is being followed by a rendition of John Lennon's Imagine by a collection of global artists. 

And now it's time for some official speeches… First up is Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, followed by IOC chief Thomas Bach

The Olympic Oath

23rd, July 2021, 7:12 pm

Time for the Olympic Oath, read out by selected Japanese athletes. 

Faster, Higher, Stronger, Together

23rd, July 2021, 7:09 pm

All the athletes are now in. A big cheer goes up as the Olympic motto is displayed!

And now it's time for the hosts Japan!

23rd, July 2021, 7:04 pm

And after a long wait, in walk the hosts Japan. Their large contingent is led by wrestler Yui Susaki and basketball player Rui Hachimura. 


Next hosts France make their way

23rd, July 2021, 7:02 pm

The penultimate team in are France, hosts of the 2024 Olympics. 

Almost over.. USA are in

23rd, July 2021, 7:01 pm

We're in the 200s now… And the hosts of the 2028 Olympics, the United States of America are now making their way in. 

Portugal make quite an entrance!

23rd, July 2021, 6:59 pm

Topless Tongan

23rd, July 2021, 6:51 pm

Okay, Tonga's Pita Taufatofua has definitely made his presence felt! 

PM Modi and others #Cheer4India

23rd, July 2021, 6:43 pm

Near and far

23rd, July 2021, 6:38 pm



All images: AP

Old faces and new

23rd, July 2021, 6:33 pm

Our neighbouring countries of China, Pakistan and Nepal have made their way in. 

Meanwhile, I am also learning of countries such as Palau and Tonga. We're more than halfway through…

Speaking of colour...

23rd, July 2021, 6:29 pm

Have a look at this stunning outfit worn by the singer who sang Japan's national anthem earlier during the Opening Ceremony. 

More scenes from the Parade

23rd, July 2021, 6:18 pm

All images: AP

Fashion watch

23rd, July 2021, 6:06 pm

It is also fascinating to watch the colourful array of official uniforms on display. Who are your favourites so far? 


Sending (virtual) support for the Indian team

23rd, July 2021, 6:06 pm

Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur is at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, cheering on the Indian team. 

Meanwhile, we are at Switzerland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Seychelles…

Video games!

23rd, July 2021, 5:54 pm

The background music as the athletes continue to enter is an orchestral medley of video games soundtracks.  

I think we are about 60 countries in. This is a great time to increase your knowledge of world geography as well - Did you know there is a country called eSwatini? Formerly known as Swaziland. 

More familiar names include Great Britain, Australia, Italy… 

It's different

23rd, July 2021, 5:27 pm

As the Parade continues, it is hard not to notice the muted feel due to the lack of spectators in the stadium. Only about 1,000 officials and VIPs are present to witness the Opening Ceremony. The athletes themselves are wearing masks and maintaining social distancing as they walk in. And the numbers are limited, with most opting out due to Covid concerns. 


23rd, July 2021, 5:23 pm

India is in Tokyo! MC Mary Kom and Mandeep Singh lead out just 25 of the 228-strong contingent sent by India to this year's Olympics. 

The Parade continues

23rd, July 2021, 5:23 pm

The Refugee Olympic Team comes in second after Greece. Then Iceland, Ireland, Afghanistan, UAE… Argentina's athletes definitely enjoying the moment as they dance their way in… 

India at 21st

23rd, July 2021, 5:13 pm

The teams enter in alphabetical order according to the language selected by the Organizing Committee, which this year is Japanese. As such, India will be 21st out of 206 contingents in the Parade of Nations. 

Time for the athletes to take centre stage

23rd, July 2021, 5:08 pm

“The great moment has arrived.” 

The athletes are entering the stadium. As always, Greece come in first, as the first hosts of the ancient and modern Olympics. 

Japan, as this year's hosts, will enter last. 

Japanese culture on display

23rd, July 2021, 5:38 pm

A Japanese cultural performance is taking place, with performers dressed as carpenters performing a folk song. And we can now see five wooden Olympic rings, made from wood taken from trees planted by athletes during the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. 

Image credit: AP

In remembrance

23rd, July 2021, 4:54 pm

A moment of silence now to honour the memory of those who lost their lives in the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as in tribute to those Olympians who have passed away. Also remembered are members of the Israeli Olympic team who lost their lives during the 1972 Munich Olympics.  

Emperor in the house

23rd, July 2021, 4:50 pm

Emperor Naruhito has entered the surreal setting of the mostly empty Tokyo Olympic Stadium, along with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach. Interestingly, the Emperor was also present along with his grandfather when the Games were last held in Tokyo in 1964. 

Image Credit: AP

The Japan flag has been raised after a rendition of the Japanese national anthem. 



What it takes...

23rd, July 2021, 4:45 pm

After a display of fireworks, there is a performance to show the preparation put in by athletes for the ultimate competition, including some of them running on treadmills and pedaling stationary bikes. 

Image Credit: AP
Image Credit: AP

It all began 7 years ago

23rd, July 2021, 4:40 pm

The Opening Ceremony begins! After a short animation, we took a look back at the time since Tokyo was awarded the Games in 2013, followed by the delay and uncertainty caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic.    

The stage is set... It's time!

23rd, July 2021, 4:33 pm

After all the questions, controversies, rules and drama, we're almost ready to kick off. It's time! 

MC Mary Kom and Mandeep Singh lead India

23rd, July 2021, 4:29 pm

India will be led into the stadium by their flag bearers, boxer MC Mary Kom and men's hockey captain Mandeep Singh. They look ready, are you? 

The Games begin!

23rd, July 2021, 4:22 pm

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 are all set to officially get underway. Join us for live updates from the Opening Ceremony at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.