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An emotional and nostalgic goodbye to the most challenging Games in history

An emotional and nostalgic goodbye to the most challenging Games in history

The Tokyo Olympics closed Sunday night with a closing ceremony that showcased Japanese cultural richness and sent a message of thanks to the country for hosting the sport’s greatest spectacle under emergency conditions.

The last chapter of Tokyo-2020 had moments of celebration and recognition of the 16 days of competition between the best athletes in the world, but the spirit of the farewell summed up in two words by Thomas Bach: “We did it”.

“You, the Japanese people, can be extremely proud of what you have achieved. On behalf of the athletes, we say: ‘Thank you, Tokyo. Thank you, Japan, “proclaimed the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in front of the stands that the local population could not occupy.

The ceremony had started with two minutes of the most memorable images of the 16 intense days of competition and, also, of innumerable restrictions to keep the pandemic away from the Games.

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Iconic tennis player Naomi Osaka appeared on the screen of the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, lighting the majestic cauldron at the opening, as well as other members of the successful host team who were able to climb to third place on the medal table without the support of their fans.

Smiles and tears, effort and celebration, concentration and skill. And stars, from the Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah to the Venezuelan jumper Yulimar Rojas, passing through the impressive staging of the stars of the new Olympic sports such as skateboarding and climbing.

– ‘Arigato’ –
After the formal entrance of authorities and flags, party music started to open the parade of the athletes still present at these Games, including some new figures who lit up these Games, such as the Brazilian gymnast Rebeca Andrade and the Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan.

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Acrobats, ‘skateboarders’ and jugglers of the ball and the bicycle amused the athletes in a picture of one of those parks in Tokyo that, in the pandemic era, foreign fans could not visit.

The athletes were applauded by fans from the big screen when light particles emerged from each of them that joined in a gigantic wave and formed the Olympic rings, in a visual spectacle that crowned the most technological and ‘virtual’ Games in history .

The traditional presentation segment of the next hosts, Paris-2024, was also mainly remote, with a fast-paced video from the Parisian sky that culminated with the celebration of a crowd under the Eiffel Tower, turned into bearer of the Olympic flag.

Japanese music, from sopranist Tomotaka Okamoto to DJ Matsunaga, including jazz, funk and classical, was present during the two-hour ceremony, although with less prominence than at the London-2012 closings, with its festival of the best British bands. or the exuberant samba with which Rio-2016 said goodbye.

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Traditional Japan was represented with the taiko drum, whose atmosphere replaced silence for the commemoration part, and a sequence of dances from four different regions that survive from generation to generation.

The costumes also played an important role with traditional costumes, hakamas and kimonos, such as the one worn by the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike.

With the witness delivered to Paris, one of the capitals of Europe, Tokyo proceeded to extinguish the Olympic flame in the cauldron and conclude the ceremony by leaving a message on the screen: “Arigato” (Thank you). (AFP)

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