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Olympic Opening Ceremony: A Ghost Town in Tokyo

If you slept in this morning, you may have missed the live broadcast of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony. The broadcast will re-air in primetime tonight at 7:30pm EST on NBC.

The ceremony took place in Tokyo, Japan this morning at 7am EST and it was an awesome spectacle, albeit one that was seen by an almost empty Olympic stadium.


With impassioned dance performances and the parade of nations, the ceremony checked all the typical Olympic Opening Ceremony boxes with on exception... the audience.

Approximately 5,700 athletes participated in the Parade of Nations, waving their hands and flags to an empty stadium (a 50 percent reduction in athletes from the usual parade headcount).

The Olympic stadium was designed to house a crowd of 70,000 but due to COVID restrictions, there were less than 1,000 in attendance including organizers, Olympics officials and dignitaries.


"Much of the ceremony appeared designed for an at-home audience, with a heavy use of video montage and VFX sequences, as well as a memorable pantomime sequence late in the program that featured a human illustration of every Olympic sport. American pop signer John Legend also made an appearance as a representative of the Americas in a pre-recorded global rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”


The ceremony went off without a hitch, although there was a large group of Olympic protesters outside the Tokyo National Stadium calling for the postponement of the games. There were actually points in the LIVE broadcast where the protestors could be heard during the quieter portions of the show

"The extreme costs of hosting the Olympics — combined with the fact that Japan has lost all of the promised economic benefits, since all local and international spectators have been banned from attending — is another sore spot among the Japanese public. A recent study from Britain’s University of Oxford concluded that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are already the most expensive Summer Games ever at $15.84 billion in total disclosed spending, with several billion more expected to be added to the eventual final price tag because of the one-year delay. The Japanese government said the cost would be just $7.3 billion when it won the bid in 2013." said Patrick Brzeksi from The Hollywood Reporter.


You can watch the rebroadcast of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Ceremony tonight, Friday, July 23, at 7:30pm EST on NBC.


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