What makes Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony unique

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No spectators

There will be no spectators during the opening ceremony in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus infections. About 950 people, including officials and journalists, will watch in the main stadium, organizers said.

Fewer athletes are expected to attend the ceremony because many are not allowed to stay for the entire Games due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Male and female flag-bearers

The International Olympic Committee has actively encouraged all delegations to select two flag-bearers this time around, including one woman, as women's participation in the Tokyo Games will reach 48.8 percent, making it the most gender-balanced Olympics in the history of the event.

Photo taken on July 22, 2021 shows a floating set of the Olympic rings at the Tokyo Bay in Tokyo, Japan. The opening ceremony of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be held on Friday. (Xinhua/Li He)

Designated to march into the opening ceremony as 111th among the delegations, Team China will be led by two flag-bearers - women's volleyball star Zhu Ting and reigning men's taekwondo champion Zhao Shuai.

Oath session updated

One of the most symbolic parts of the opening ceremony – the Olympic oath – has been significantly adapted in order to "highlight the importance of solidarity, inclusion, non-discrimination and equality".

The number of oath-takers will also be extended from three to six - two athletes, two coaches and two judges.

Simplified ceremony

In the 30-second video showing the rehearsal of the opening ceremony released to the public, the performances will be integrated with dances, scenery and other display elements used in Japanese traditional festivals activities.

In order to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic and manage the cost, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said that the performances of the ceremony will be greatly simplified, with more light and shadow technology used instead of real decorations at the scene.

Lighting of Olympic Cauldron kept secret

In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, how will the Olympic Cauldron be lit? Who will be the final torch-bearer to ignite the "fire of hope"?

A renowned former athlete will most likely serve as the final torch-bearer and, given the theme of equality for the Games, the individual will probably be a woman, according to Japanese media.

Who will show up?

The list of top guests for the opening ceremony hasn't been finalized, with Japan struggling to fix foreign leaders' visits under the fourth COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo.

World leaders and senior figures who have already promised their attendance in the opening ceremony are French President Emmanuel Macron, Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene and US first lady Jill Biden, among others.

Japan's Emperor Naruhito is expected to attend the opening ceremony alone and announce the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

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