Despite the continuous, the they’re still happening, with the traditional opening ceremonies taking place in Japan on Friday, in front of a small audience in person. Although NBC covered the ceremonies live early in the morning on US television, many viewers are likely to watch the broadcast, which airs at 7:30 p.m. ET / PT on NBC and on the NBC Sports app and NBCOlympics.com. This is what to look for.
Tonga is back
Similar to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2016 Rio Games, one team stood out. For the third consecutive Olympiad, the taekwondo athleteof Tonga gained the world’s attention by marching shirtless, with an oiled chest and torso. (This was perhaps most inspiring when he did it in the but it still attracts attention).
Things were a bit different this year: Taufatofua wore a mask and joined Malia Paseka, Tonga’s first female Olympian to compete in taekwondo. He congratulated his teammate and flag bearer.
“A special congratulations to our standard bearer, Malia Paseka,” Taufatofua tweeted. “She did an incredible job of paving the way for greater participation by women and youth in sport in Tonga. What a pride to walk alongside our first Olympic taekwondo athlete!”
Fans were drawn to the Tonga team.
“Clearly the best flagging pair in the Parade of Nations,” wrote one Twitter user. “They are both amazing!”
He wrote another: “** BREAKING ** TONGA HAS WON THE OLYMPIC GAMES. We can go home now.”
This year, Tonga was not alone in the field of greased athletes. Rower Riilio Rii from Vanuatu also pulled off the shiny, shirtless look.
“Pita, we see you and we raise you,” wrote the official Twitter account of the Olympics.
Now do I know my alphabet?
Countries usually enter the stadium in alphabetical order. But when you look at this year, you might wonder if you know the alphabet. That is because it is in the order used in Japan.
There are a few other variations as well. Greece, home to the original Olympics, leads the pack, followed by the Refugee team, athletes from troubled countries who have mostly been training in Kenya. The United States marches near the end, followed by France and then Japan, the host country. (If you want to move on, Wikipedia has the order.)
Many of those who expected the teams to march in ABC order were thrown out.
“This order is insane,” wrote one Twitter user. “Clearly I need to check the alphabet.”
The various sports were also exhibited by artists dressed in white and blue and nicknamed “human pictograms”, who recreated the icons used to represent each sport.
One Twitter user wrote: “This Wii live action sports menu was unexpected but greatly appreciated.”
Another said, “Give the pictogram team a GOLD.”
The opening ceremonies will air in the US on NBC at 7:30 pm ET / PT. The Olympics will run until August 8.