The Tokyo Olympic grand opening is all set to take place on Friday. While the Olympic Games have always begun with a ceremony that features dramatic props, mass choreography, a cornucopia of lights, dances and actors, this year Tokyo’s opening ceremony will be one without grandiosity, owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The scaled down celebrations will have the viewers witness a “sobering” performance, Marcho Balich, senior advisor to the Tokyo ceremonies executive producer, told Reuters in an interview.
"It will be a much more sobering ceremony. Nevertheless with beautiful Japanese aesthetics. Very Japanese but also in sync with the sentiment of today, the reality," Balich said.
He added, "We have to do our best to complete this unique and hopefully the only one of its kind Olympics."
The large-scale event had been postponed in 2020 due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. The delayed Games will also be the first-ever to be played behind closed doors, as a cluster of cases threaten its cancellation altogether.
As many as 67 COVID cases related to the Games have been reported since the arrival of officials and athletes on July 1. Some of the athletes will, therefore, not join the teams’ parades, and only fly to the venue to compete and leave as soon as possible. The parade this year will be smaller bar a few hundred officials and tight social distancing rules, according to Marcho Balich.
"There will be several hundred marshals to guide the athletes for the parade. The opening ceremony in a way is going to be unique and focus only on the athletes," Marcho said.
"That (pandemic) of course has consequences. Mass choreography is not happening obviously, because of COVID-19," he added
Japanese fear the spread of the virus with the commencement of the event. Despite concerns about safety of people as the sporting spectacle is held, the event has been given a nod to roll out on Friday.
"It will be very meaningful, far from the grandiosity of previous ceremonies. The moment is now. It is a beautiful effort. A very truthful, honest ceremony, nothing fake," Marcho said.