After a year of delay, the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 is almost here. But with social distancing and the absence of fans, the ceremony, just like the Games, will be very different.
What is the opening ceremony?
The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is scheduled for Friday evening in Tokyo. But the 1 hour time difference with Tokyo means that it will be Friday morning in the United States.
How can I watch it?
NBC will broadcast live on the morning of the ceremony starting at 6:55 a.m. EST, marking the first time the network has broadcast the event in direct in the morning. "Today " host Savannah Guthrie and NBC Sports' Mike Tirico will host NBC's coverage. The the ceremony can also be broadcast on the NBC Spo apprts and on NBCOlympics.com
Next, NBC will also be airing a special edition of "Today " which includes athlete interviews, followed daytime Olympic broadcast.
As in previous years, the network will broadcast a packaged prime-time version of the ceremony at 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday . Coverage will also be rebroadcast overnight for viewers who missed previous broadcasts.
Who is leading the US team in the Parade of Nations?
The ' one of the highlights of the opening ceremony is the Parade of Nations. American basketball player Sue Bird, who won four gold medals, and baseball player Eddy Alvarez, silver medalist in speed skating in 2014, will be the flagship of the United States and lead the delegation of over 230 American players. (There are 613 athletes in total on the United States team)
"It 's an incredible honor to be chosen as the flag bearer for the United States team," Bird said in a statement.
Alvarez, too, said he was touched by the selection. "It 's an honor and a privilege to be named among the standard bearers by my fellow athletes of Team USA for the opening ceremony. Being a first generation Cuban American, my story represents the American Dream, ”said Alvarez.
What are the changes to the ceremony this year?
Athletes will march through a largely empty Olympic stadium in Tokyo, with spectators having been excluded from most of the Games. The artists for this year's lineup have yet to be announced. And NBC has no intention of adding background noise that mimics fans in the stands throughout the Games, Molly Solomon, NBC Olympics executive producer said on a call last week . This is a change from last year, when most broadcasters were reaching out to registered gay fans during the pandemic.
The opening ceremony comes at a time when matches have already started in Tokyo and concerns about the virus are high. Tokyo infection rate peaked in six months. Adding to this anxiety is the wave of announcements of Olympic participants who have tested positive, including those inside the Olympic Village.
What else to do I know?
Other news has also overshadowed the event in recent days.
Games organizers sacked Kentaro Kobayashi , the creative director of the ceremony, after video footage of him mocking the Holocaust in a comedic act in the 1990s was shown.
Mr. Kobayashi's dismissal follows the resignation of the composer who wrote the music for the opening ceremony, after extractsInterviews he gave in the 1990s confessing to having suffered severe bullying and abuse towards his disabled classmates have surfaced on social media.