Photos: Highlights Of The Tokyo Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony

Jul 23, 2021
Originally published on July 23, 2021 11:23 am

Fireworks soared above Tokyo's new Olympic Stadium Friday as the delayed Summer Games finally held its opening ceremony — an event that culminates in lighting the Olympic cauldron.

Athletes marched in front of thousands of empty seats as only a sparse crowd was admitted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Those attending included first lady Jill Biden, who chatted with French President Emmanuel Macron.

A standout moment came midway through the event when Tonga's Pita Taufatofua once again vied to steal the show by marching into the stadium bare-chested (and oiled).

This year's ceremony, titled "United by Emotion," also brought a poignant moment of silence as organizers encouraged people to remember loved ones who were lost to the pandemic.

Despite the cloud cast by the coronavirus — from the one-year postponement to a ban on spectators — athletes showed their excitement finally to be at the Olympics, bouncing and bounding across the stadium floor to open the Games.

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Performers dance during the opening ceremony Friday.
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Tennis star Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic torch.
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Tonga's flag bearers Malia Paseka (left) and Pita Taufatofua lead their delegation.
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A performer at the opening ceremony. The Tokyo Games officially began Friday after a year's delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Dancers perform during the opening ceremony.
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Ireland's flag bearers Kellie Harrington and Brendan Irvine carry the Irish tricolor flag.
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Supporters outside the Olympic Stadium take pictures of the fireworks lighting up the sky over Tokyo.
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Performers take part in the opening ceremony.
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Flag bearers Hannah Mills and Mohamed Sbihi of Great Britain lead out their team during the open ceremony.
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A view inside the Olympic Stadium with fireworks during the opening ceremony.
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Flag bearers Laura Ludwig and Patrick Hausding of Germany lead their team out during the opening ceremony.
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Performers take part in the opening ceremony.
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A security officer looks out over an empty stadium before the opening ceremony.
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A member of Egypt's team waves a flag during the opening ceremony.
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The Japanese national flag comes onto the stage during the opening ceremony.
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More than 1,800 drones form the shape of a globe during the opening ceremony.
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A police officer gestures toward a small group (not seen) protesting against the Tokyo Games on Friday.
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The Olympic cauldron is seen as the Japanese flag is raised during the national anthem.
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A performer acts during the opening ceremony.
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Members of Team USA take in the atmosphere of the Games during the opening ceremony.
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A traditional song gets a showcase during the opening ceremony.
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The Japanese national flag gets raised during the opening ceremony.
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Performers at the opening ceremony.
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Flag bearers Anna Korakaki and Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece lead their teammates out during the opening ceremony.
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A view from outside the Olympic Stadium offers a fireworks showcase.
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