I’m sitting here with my morning coffee, watching the Opening Ceremony of the
2020 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. You never quite know what to expect with opening ceremonies, do you? Especially this year.
But I love to see how host countries choose to display their art and culture. Some years, you get a 30 minute history lesson on the host country. Other years, it’s just pure entertainment. This year… an anatomy lesson???
This year’s was also an “If you build it, they will come” type of theme. It was cool, I suppose. The fireworks and bigger displays that don’t translate well on TV were kind of weird, seeing as the stadium was near-empty. (Dr. Jill Biden was there representing the U.S.)
The US athletes who planned to walk in the parade of nations weren’t even AT the stadium when the opening ceremony began. But we did get to see video of their bus ride over to the stadium for their turn in the parade of nations. Not sure why they kept showing us the bus. 🙂 Maybe the media thought those of us at home were nervous they weren’t coming?
Also, it was clearly a long bus ride.
Megan Rapinoe spoke with the Today show during the parade of nations while the women’s soccer team was taking a bus ride back from their practice. She had this to say, “I don’t know who schedules practice during this time, but…” (Um… Megan, you have Game 2 tomorrow! Get your head in the game. Just kidding! I know y’all are here for it!) She seemed super excited that they were getting the opportunity to participate in an Olympics of any kind. That was sweet.
One of the most interesting moments of the opening ceremonies was the moment of silence for lives lost. First, for the lives lost around the world from the pandemic. I honestly got a little choked up during that moment. It’s always sad to realize just how many people the world has lost to Covid 19.
And second, the moment of silence included the mention of the Munich massacre—an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany when eight members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took nine members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage after killing two of them. The nine hostages were eventually killed as well. Taking a moment to remember those Olympians is pretty significant as it is the first mention EVER during an opening ceremony of the worst tragedy in Olympic history. They didn’t even mention it at the 1976 Olympics, or so I’ve heard. I was 4 during the 1976 Olympics, so I don’t remember. But is it just me, or is it strange that they mention it now?
The artistic portion of the ceremonies… well… (I really want to say positive things here)… was kinda weird. There were interpreter dancers in white holding onto these shredded, red ropes… uh… I mean… blood vessels and arteries that were tied to the “heart” of the olympics… or something… I think it got a little lost in translation.
It was cool.
Then there was the guy on the treadmill:
*turns on Olympic ceremony*
Fifteen minutes of a star Japanese boxer jogging on a treadmill in an empty stadium, her story of triumph against odds… then an announcement that she won’t get to actually compete because her qualification tournament was cancelled due to Covid.
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) July 23, 2021
And the single tap dancer.
Then of course… the parade of nations. I always enjoy seeing how the athletes are dressed and the stories that are told about each country as they come out.
My stream of thoughts during the parade of nations:
Aruba has three athletes this year. (I want to go there.)
The US athletes weren’t even on the bus at the time that Aruba’s three athletes walked in the Parade of Nations. They missed the entire entertainment portion of the opening ceremonies. Is that normal, or is that Covid?
Many countries only allowed a fraction of their athletes to participate in the opening ceremonies, like Canada and England. Welcome to a Covid Olympics!
It was difficult not to feel bad for countries like India as they entered the stadium, because we’ve spent months and months watching their country be ravaged by Covid 19. Not that we all haven’t suffered, but…
TONGA is in the building! What picture comes to mind when you hear Tonga at the Olympics?
Rio 2016 ✅
PyeongChang 2018 ✅
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
U.S. is off the bus, by the way. They’re coming! While we wait, Savannah speaks to one of our swimmers, who’s not coming to the opening ceremonies.
Barbados arrives. Remember, we’re going in alphabetical order by the Japanese alphabet. That’s why Americans have no idea which order the countries will enter the stadium. It’s like little surprises of countries we forgot we want to visit some day throughout the entire parade. I love it.
P.S. I want to go to Barbados.
They just introduced two table tennis players. I guess it’s not “classy” to call it ping pong. Have you ever watched competitive ping pong? It’s an intense sport, y’all!
I’m still waiting on the U.S. I need more coffee. BRB…
… I’m back.
American Samoa is in the house! I have a friend whose family is from there! I want to travel there. It’s a REALLY long flight, though.
Next, the U.S. Virgin Islands. We have to be getting closer to the U.S., right? (I’ve been to a U.S. Virgin Island.)
Belize! Peru! Belgium! Portugal! I feel like someone is just reading from my travel bucket list at this point. Also, I really don’t understand the Japanese alphabet. Is it too late to learn a little Japanese? I should probably start with something a little easier. Like Italian. Or French, which I already took five years of but still can’t speak.
Savanah (Today Show) just said how we were all wondering if we would see any smiles today because everyone’s wearing masks, but “we are seeing smiles. Their eyes are smiling.” Okay, Savanah, I guess that’s true. It’s not that I don’t believe her. She’s closer than I am.
U.S. flag bearers have their flag. They just showed us the U.S. athletes backstage. They look good. Ready for competition.
While we continue to wait for the U.S…. what’s your favorite summer olympic sport? I have too many to mention. Swimming, gymnastics, soccer, diving, tennis. The list goes on and on.
And finally… the U.S. enters the stadium led by Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez, who were mic’d up. That was really cool, especially for their parents back home who were crying.
🇺🇸 @TeamUSA are here!
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
The US athletes are completely decked out in Ralph Lauren! Love me some Ralph Lauren! People on Twitter complained about the horse being too big. And giving another designer a chance to design what clothing should represent America. To that I say… whatever. Our athletes look good.
Also, no one told the US that they were supposed to leave some back at the hotel because of Covid. They had numbers!
The coolest thing from the opening ceremony BY FAR happened after the athletes entered the stadium. It was the 1800 synchronized drones that formed a sphere of lights above the stadium that shifted and morphed into a rotating world globe! I mean, WOW! And scary what we can do with drones these days.
Then… for some reason… John Legend, Keith Urban, and two other non-Japanese singers joined in the singing of “Imagine” by John Lennon, and I’m still trying to figure out why. The Olympics is in Tokyo, right? I guess they were trying to bring the world together with singers from other places?
This was all followed by some inspiring speeches to the athletes about perseverance and overcoming challenges, yada yada yada. Everyone was sweating and really shiny (especially the Tonga dude) because apparently it is unbelievably hot in Japan right now.
And I’ve run out of coffee and need to get to work.
Let the Games begin!
So.. Until next time. Go out there and be kind today!
Did you watch the opening ceremony? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments.