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“Moving Forward” to be Theme in Tokyo 2020 Opening and Closing Ceremonies

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Photo: Sky Sports

By Philip Barker |

Tokyo 2020 has announced that the Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies will be linked by the concept of “Moving Forward”, a reference to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have designed the ceremonies around the concept that the Games can bring fresh hope and encouragement to people around the world through the active appearance of athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Games and via the power of sport”, organizers said.

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies are being produced by Takayuki Hioki, who will be advised by Marco Balich, mastermind of the opening of Turin’s Winter Olympics in 2006.

The Olympic Opening Ceremony next week will take as its theme the words “United by Emotion”, which have already become well known as the motto for Tokyo 2020.

“In the Opening Ceremony, we will aspire to reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, to express our gratitude and admiration for the efforts we all made together over the past year, and also to bring a sense of hope for the future”, said Tokyo 2020.

“We hope it will be an experience that conveys how we all have the ability to celebrate differences, to empathise, and to live side by side with compassion for one another.”

Although much of the content will remain secret until the opening night  the entry of Olympic Refugee Team immediately after Greece at the start of the athletes’ procession seems certain to embody the motto.

Each team has been invited to name joint flagbearers to symbolise gender equality and this will carry through into other elements of the function as male and female athletes, judges and officials participate in the taking of the Olympic oath.

The biggest secret remains the identity of the athlete or athletes who ignite the Olympic Cauldron. 

This is the work of Canadian-born Japanese designer Oki Sato who attended Waseda University, the very same university as Yoshinori Sakai, the cauldron-lighter in 1964.

The opening declaration, limited to a prescribed statement of around 17 words, laid down in the Olympic Charter, will be made by Emperor Naruhito.

Kyodo News quoted an anonymous Palace source with “knowledge of the planning” as confirming that the Emperor would be attending.

He would be the third generation of the Japanese Royal Family to open an Olympics. 

Grandfather Hirohito performed the duty at the previous Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and also the Sapporo 1972 Winter Games.

Naruhito’s father Akihito spoke the opening words at the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics.

The present Emperor is the honorary patron of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympics.

He acceded to the throne in 2019 following the abdication of his father.

The Olympic Closing Ceremony will take the theme “Worlds we Share”.

Traditionally the closing has been a more informal occasion when the athletes appear without distinction of nationality and have often enjoyed a party atmosphere.

To what extent this will be permitted in Tokyo has not been made clear as many athletes will leave shortly after their events are completed as part of precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

Ceremony organisers said: “Even if we cannot be together, we can share the same moment, and that is something that we will never forget. 

“It is this salient message which we believe will create a Closing Ceremony that will open the door to a brighter future. 

“We hope that this ceremony may be a moment for each and every one of us to think about what the future holds.”

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.

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