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Watch the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

The opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

Photo: Getty Images / Laurence Griffiths


Live coverage began at 6:30 a.m. ET, and ceremony got underway at 7 a.m. ET

The opening ceremony for Tokyo 2020 got underway at 7 a.m. ET, and promises to be a more subdued affair compared to years past as these Games open amid an ongoing global pandemic.

In addition to the live stream above, coverage of the opening ceremony began at 6:30 a.m. ET on the CBC TV network, CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports' Tokyo 2020 website (new window). The ceremony began at 7 a.m. ET and will re-air on CBC TV at 7 p.m. ET.

The live streams are also being provided in several languages, including eight Indigenous languages (new window) and American Sign Language (ASL).

The theme of the opening ceremony is moving forward, to reflect the need of the global community to look to a brighter future after a year and a half of a global pandemic that still grips much of the world.

The title is united by emotion, as spectators who may be forced apart by the pandemic can still be united by the highs and lows of cheering on the athletes.

The ceremony opened with a short burst of fireworks, before a subdued first performance that began with Japanese boxer Tsubata Arisa, who is also a nurse, running on a treadmill. Not only was her presence an homage to front-line health-care workers who have given so much during the pandemic, but was also a nod to athletes around the world who were forced to train in isolation as the coronavirus took hold.

After Emperor Naruhito and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach entered the stadium, six athletes carried the Japanese flag into the stadium.

The Parade of Nations, when athletes from around the world march into the stadium, was expected to get underway at about 7:38 a.m. ET.

Delayed Games

After a year-long delay due to COVID-19, competition began at Tokyo 2020 on Wednesday, with events set to ramp up over the weekend. More than 11,000 athletes will be competing in 33 sports, including four sports making their Olympic debuts: karate, surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing. Baseball and softball are making their return to an Olympic program after a two-Games absence.

Meanwhile, fans are absent from the opening ceremony as well as the events in an effort to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19, though Tokyo remains under a state of emergency due to surging cases. A few dozen people accredited to attend the Games, including athletes, have tested positive since arriving in Japan.

Canada is fielding a team of some 371 athletes, the largest contingent since 1984. But not all competitors will be in Japan for the start of the Games, as some athletes are arriving just in time for their events and will leave quickly after they are done.

Team Canada will be led in the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony by basketball player Miranda Ayim and rugby sevens player Nathan Hirayama (new window).

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