11:00 a.m. Here’s a bit more on Osaka, but that’ll do it from Tokyo. Besides the cool pictogram bit, not a lot to take away from this one. Which is understandable considering the restraints put on the event due to COVID-19.
An empty stadium makes it hard to feel like too much of a celebration. We’ll see if that lack of fun and feel translates to the sports as well.
10:50 a.m. The Olympic torch runners inside the stadium include former New York Yankee Hideki Matsui, and all-time professional baseball home run leader Sadaharu Oh. Both doctors and nurses, as well as young people from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami area, were honored in the run up.
And Naomi Osaka, four-time women’s tennis Grand Slam winner and athlete in these games, lights the cauldron in front of the world. Very, very cool.
10:35 a.m. The Olympic sport pictogram was invented in Tokyo in 1964, and the work of the performers to physically map out all 50 of them for these games was pretty cool. We’ll post a full video of all of it when it’s available, but this will give you an idea.
10:20 a.m. IOC President Thomas Bach has made a change to the Olympic Motto: Instead of “Faster, Higher, Stronger” it is now “Faster, Higher, Stronger, Together.” He also made several references to solidarity, and said “this feeling of togetherness is the light at the end of the dark tunnel.” Those outside loudly protesting these Games, who can apparently be heard inside the stadium, might disagree.
9:50 a.m. Well the drones are cool. But we’re really singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” at an Opening Ceremony? Doesn’t the IOC know this hasn’t worked out well before??
Oh hey it’s John Legend. Go Penn Quakers.
9:35 a.m. Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez were mic’ed up while they walked in the American flag, and while the calm and collected Bird was pretty on message, it was Eddy Alvarez openly admitting to freaking out.
Alongside the legendary Sue Bird, there is Marlins INF Eddy Alvarez waving the American flag. I have the chills. pic.twitter.com/h09uEIomQv— Ethan Budowsky (@ethanbudowsky) July 23, 2021
9:15 a.m. If you’re curious as we see more nations come in, here’s the numbers for Team USA in Tokyo.
About 100 of the 613 U.S. athletes descending on Tokyo for the Olympics are unvaccinated, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee's medical chief says. https://t.co/M91flnQuFw— ABC News (@ABC) July 23, 2021
8:55 p.m. Shirtless Tongan flag bearer is back! His name is Pita Taufatofua, he competes in both skiing and taekwondo, so we see him at both Summer and Winter Games, and he’s unafraid of a nice body oil.
8:50 p.m. Don’t worry, we’re still having countries parade in. With 207 NOC’s here, it’s going to take awhile. The USA is 204th, so it might be a bit.
8:25 a.m. Here’s a few of the great uniforms and costumes that have come into the stadium during the parade of nations so far:
oh my look at those Aruban outfits pic.twitter.com/2j7B5ZMD0z— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) July 23, 2021
Sono improvvisamente molto interessato alla squadra olimpica del Kazakhstan pic.twitter.com/umJRDwAzTh— 301 Moved Permanently (@_sixpounder) July 23, 2021
8:10 a.m. Very cool to have Megan Rapinoe interviewed ahead of her fiancee Sue Bird (five-time Olympian!) carrying the USA flag into the stadium. Rapinoe’s women’s soccer team might have lost 3-0 to Sweden to open the Games, but there’s plenty of time for them to recover in group play.
That is a power couple with five gold medals between them. Pinoe of course had a great line about the honor of her fiancee as well: “In typical Sue fashion, very lowkey about it... unlike me she doesn’t like a lot of the attention.”
7:55 a.m. My favorite part of this every time is Savannah Guthrie dropping Indonesian badminton facts like she’s reading out of Biff Tannen’s Sports Almanac. It never gets old. It’s like a walking “Did You Know” segment on SportsCenter.
Also Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina is competing in her eighth Olympics for her third country. As a gymnast. That is just crazy.
7:50 a.m. If you’re wondering about the order of the nations entering as we watch Iran walk into the stadium...
We're doing Japanese order - the vowel order is A-I-U-E-O, and then the consonants... K/G, S/Z, T/D, N, H/B, M, Y, R, W... good luck with that! https://t.co/xLkDaTBccb— Dan Orlowitz (@aishiterutokyo) July 23, 2021
7:40 a.m. And we finally have some athletes walking into the stadium. Greece as per usual goes first, and the IOC Refugee Team follows them. Now we’ll go in alphabetical order in Japanese. So as to the next country to enter the stadium, it’s truly random for those of us unfamiliar with the language.
7:35 a.m. We’ve got people doing choreography on wood, and we’ve got tap dancing. There’s a lot of acrobatic tumbling passes happening.
Also there are protests taking place outside Olympic Stadium.
Huge protest outside opening ceremonies. pic.twitter.com/bGyn4dXbF2— Ann Killion (@annkillion) July 23, 2021
7:25 a.m. Something to keep in mind is that there is some Inception-like time jumping going on here from NBC. Friend of the blog Tim Burke is tracking the ceremonies on plenty of different feeds from his home.
Really tricky time compressing there, and still happening, where NBC chopped up how long it took the Japanese flag to make its way in to cover for that commercial break. They went from two minutes behind to live in about 15 seconds, & Tirico was so smooth you didn't even notice.— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) July 23, 2021
We’ve got a moment of silence for the victims of COVID-19 around the world. Everyone in the stadium is standing, and they’re all wearing masks as well.
7:20 a.m. The Emperor of Japan is here, as is First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Usually these events serve as a de facto meeting of world leaders, but not today as the amount of people able to make the trip is quite limited.
The traditional raising of the host nation flag, with the Japanese national anthem playing, is happening now.
7:10 a.m. We’ve got a bunch of people working out on their own socially distanced from each other on the infield of Olympic Stadium in Tokyo while a fancy light up floor is underneath them. This has been happening for several minutes, and now they’re dancing.
It’s not exactly the drummers in Beijing in 2008, that’s for sure.
Welcome to the DK Nation live blog of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics! No fans! A nation that doesn’t want to them to be there! Only half the athletes that are participating in the Games entering the stadium! Feel the excitement!
We’ve got Mike Tirico and Savannah Guthrie live in Tokyo, and Hoda Kotb is at 30 Rock in New York. This could get awkward, weird, or they could actually make the best of a bad situation and turn it into something fun. We’ll all find out together live this morning.
As of now, about 6,000 journalists are in the stadium, about 1,000 members of the Olympic delegation, and only about 6,000 of the athletes. Some have to compete tomorrow and are skipping, some are in other cities such as softball and soccer players, and some haven’t even arrived in Tokyo yet because of restrictions on who can come when.
We’ll be here all morning. Let’s see what happens!