'Simple and sombre' Olympics opening ceremony planned for Friday

Credit: Belga

After a year of uncertainty in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games will finally take place on Friday and scheduled to start at 1:00 PM Belgian time.

Five years after the colourful festivities in Rio in 2016, this year’s Games are set to be much more subdued. No audience will be allowed to attend, either the ceremony or any of the competitions.

Heptathlon star Nafissatou Thiam, and hockey player Felix Denayer will be leading the Belgian athletes out as flagbearers at the ceremony.

“The 2021 edition of the ceremony will be simpler and more sombre than the previous editions,” the organisers said, in order to respect the health measures to reduce coronavirus transmission.

The organisers plan to make the ceremony a message of “empathy” to express “gratitude” and “admiration” for all the efforts made in the fight against the pandemic. "United by emotion" has become the motto of the Tokyo Olympics.

A tribute will also be made to all the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan which led to the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

Despite the lack of any attending audience at the ceremony, organisers still hope for some festive atmosphere, planning a series of traditional Japanese music shows, referring to the country’s history and culture, and the universal values of sports.

The Brussels Times

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