Tokyo 2021 Olympics Opening Ceremony Highlights & History-Making Moments

By Lauren Crawford

July 23, 2021

The Opening Ceremony for this year's Summer Games commenced on Friday (July 23) in Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.

This year's ceremony featured athletes from around the world parading in a near-empty stadium as fans were not allowed to attend because of rising COVID-19 cases in Japan.

For Team USA, four-time Olympic basketball gold medalist Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez were given the honor of carrying the U.S. flag for the opening ceremony. The moment marked the first time the U.S. delegation has ever had two flag-bearers.

Due to restrictions, only a select number of officials and some dignitaries were present for Friday's ceremony. However, the show went on without a hitch as the night featured tons of unforgettable moments, including tennis superstar Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic torch.

Keep scrolling to see the highlights from the 2021 Olympic Games' Opening Ceremony.

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Fireworks light up the sky over the Olympic Stadium.
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Japanese Kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa performs.
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Performers dance during the Opening Ceremony.
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Naomi Osaka carries the Olympic torch.
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An overview shows Osaka lighting the flame of hope in the Olympic Cauldron.
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U.S. First Lady, Jill Biden takes part in a moment of silence.
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A choir performs.
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Fireworks go off around the Olympic Stadium.
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Flag bearers Sue Bird and Eddy Alvares of Team United States take part in the Parade of Nations.
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Olympic super-fan Kyoko Ishikawa (R) who has attended every Summer Olympics in the past 30 years and her husband John Sledge (R) hold American national flags as American athletes appear on TV during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
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Japanese jazz composer Hiromi Uehara plays the piano during.
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The Olympic Flame burns after the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.
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President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach speaks.
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Flag bearers Jessica Rossi and Elia Viviani of Team Italy lead their team out.
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Flag bearers Hannah Mills and Mohamed Sbihi of Team Great Britain lead their team out.
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Flag bearers Hannah Mills and Mohamed Sbihi of Team Great Britain leads their team out.
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Angola's flag bearer Natalia Santos leads the delegation.
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Members of USA's delegation pose as they parade during the opening ceremony.
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A general view inside the stadium.
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The Japan flag is carried on stage.
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Flag bearers Ketleyn Quadros and Bruno Mossa Rezende of Team Brazil lead their team out.
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The Olympic Rings are seen outside the stadium as fireworks go off.
Photo: Getty Images
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