Tokyo Olympics 2020 comes to a close: Highlights

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Closing Ceremony Highlights: The memorable edition of the Summer Games were declared closed by IOC President Thomas Bach. 17 days of sporting action came to an end with a memorable closing ceremony.

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, hit with a one-year delay due to the pandemic, concluded Sunday with a closing ceremony celebration that was both joyful and contemplative.

Athletes, masked and some donning the medals they won, filled the floor of the mostly empty Olympic Stadium, where they were met with a light show and musical performances from groups like the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. The number of athletes present was smaller than usual, given the pandemic-related requirement that athletes return home shortly after their final competition.

At the end of the ceremony, the Olympic torch will go out and Tokyo will hand over its hosting duties to Paris, the next city to hold the Summer Olympics, in 2024.Because of the delay in mounting the Tokyo Games, it’ll be just six months before we start the Beijing Winter Olympics in February of 2022.

IOC president Thomas Bach’s speech

“Athletes went faster, went higher and were stronger because they all stood together in solidarity. You inspired us with this unified symbol of sport. And it was even more remarkable because of what you faced in the pandemic. For the first time since the pandemic, the world came together. People were united by emotion, sharing moments of joy and inspiration. This gives us hope, this gives us faith in the future. The Olympic Games of Tokyo were the Olympic Games of hope, solidarity and peace. You the Japanese people can be extremely proud of what you achieved. On behalf of all the athletes we say thank you Tokyo, thank you Japan.”

Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee head Hashimoto Seiko’s speech –

Full text of speech:

“In the presence of His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino, I hereby extend my greetings to you at the closing of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Tonight the curtain falls on a Games of excitement and inspiration, forged by each athlete who took part. These Games took place in the midst of a severe pandemic, and I would like to express my deep gratitude to all those in medical services, to everyone who supported and contributed to the Games, and to our hosts, the people of Japan.

Although many of the events were held without spectators, the athletes were greeted instead by arrangements of morning glory flowers grown by schoolchildren across Japan. The morning glory vines were intertwined and resilient, as if depicting the unity of the people of the world. We were all so very encouraged by the gentle bloom of the flowers and the thoughts and feelings that accompanied them.

Thank you very much.

To all the volunteers who supported the Games:

These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are a testament to your strength, your power and your love for sport. No matter how difficult the situation, you were able to rise to the challenge and put a smile on everyone’s face. Thanks to your support, we were able to overcome so many difficulties. Thank you very much.

To my fellow Olympians:

There are no words to describe what you have achieved in Tokyo. You have accepted what seemed unimaginable, understood what had to be done, and through hard work and perseverance overcome unbelievable challenges. This has made you true Olympians.

One athlete’s jubilant victory is another’s bitter defeat. Yet in the space of an instant, winner and loser come together in the same feeling of acknowledgement and respect. This is the beauty of the Olympic Games. This is the value of the Olympic spirit. Please never forget that sight. And in the future, tell the story of what you achieved here with confidence and pride.

Even as the Games close, a new door opens: a door to the future, opened by athletes and the power of sport. “Sport has the power to change the world and our future” – and this power, I believe, will carry us through to the next Summer Games in Paris in 2024.

Tonight the Olympic flame that has lit up Tokyo will quietly go out. But the hope that has been ignited here will never be extinguished. It will remain alight in the hearts of people all over the world as we continue to hope for peace in the spirit of Ekecheiria, a tradition unbroken from the ancient Olympic Games.

Our journey continues. Athletes around the world have believed in their own potential and overcome adversity to become Paralympic hopefuls. Now it is time for them to make their mark. We at Tokyo 2020 are ready and waiting for the Paralympic Games.

Finally, I would like to thank President Bach and all the members of the IOC, the Government of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and everyone else who has supported these Games. Thank you all very much.

Athletes and people of the world, we hope to welcome you here again someday. See you in Tokyo. Thank you and good night.”

Flagbearers take part in the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Athletes pose with their gold medals.Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

The Japanese flag is brought into the stadium.Marijan Murat/Picture Alliance via Getty Imges

Silver medalist Brigid Kosgei, left, of Team Kenya, gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir, center, of Team Kenya and bronze medalist Molly Seidel of Team United States pose during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Marathon Final during the Closing Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Naomi Baker/Getty Images

A general view shows dancers and singer performing.Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images

Athletes carrying nations’ flags walk past the Olympic flame as they enter the stadium during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Entertainers perform.Naomi Baker/Getty Images

A cyclist rides during a performance.Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Performers sing the Japanese national anthem as the Olympic flag and Japan’s flag are raised.Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

Dancers perform during the closing ceremony.Jae C. Hong/AP

The Japan and Olympic flags fly as country flags are carried in during the closing ceremony.Vincent Thian/AP

Japanese dancer Aoi Yamada performs a solo piece.Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images

The Japanese dancer Aoi Yamada performs.Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

A drummer performs Japan’s Taiko drumming.Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images

Skateboarders perform during the Closing Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Members of the Polish delegation take pictures.Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

Bystanders take images of fireworks lighting up the sky over the Olympic Stadium.Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

The Olympic flag is folded during the closing ceremony.Antonin Thuillier/AFP via Getty Images

The Olympic flame is extinguished during the closing ceremony.Vincent Thian/AP

French aerial patrol ‘Patrouille de France’ fly over the fan village of The Trocadero set in front of The Eiffel Tower, in Paris on August 8, 2021 upon the transmission of the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Stephen de Sakutin/AFP via Getty Images

For the first time –

For the first time ever in a handover ceremony at the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, the national anthem of the next host country is delivered on film as part of Paris 2024’s presentation.

Stunning visuals and the melody of various instruments are hair-raising. We see visuals of a theatre, an astronaut playing saxophone in a space shuttle, a view of the earth and everyday life in Paris. They have arrived and are ready, is what they are conveying.

Basically, it was French astronaut Thomas Pesquet concluding the anthem with a few notes played from space, gazing towards Japan.

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