With the culmination of the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil, Japan is set to host the next Summer Olympics, in 2020, in Tokyo! At the closing ceremonies of the Rio Olympics, Japan gave us a spectacular sneak preview of what we can expect on the next grand event, and it’s something to be excited about!

The Olympic Games ceremonies of the Ancient Olympic Games were considered an important part of the games. Today’s modern Olympic games have opening, closing, and medal ceremonies that derive some aspects from the Ancient Games.  The prominence of Greece from where the games originated is given importance in both the opening and closing ceremonies, both much anticipated events. Presentations continue to grow in scale, scope, and grandeur with each successive celebration of the Olympic games.

Panathenaic Stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics was held in 1896.

The Olympic opening ceremonies showcase the proud history, culture, and achievements of the host country to the entire world. It represents the official commencement of an Olympic Games. The Olympic Charter mandates various elements that frame the Opening Ceremonies of a celebration of the Olympic Games. Most of these rituals were canonized at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Olympic closing ceremonies, in contrast to the opening ceremonies, are gradually developed more by tradition than by official mandate.  It begins with the “Parade of Flags” where flag bearers from each participating country enter the stadium in single file. This is followed by the “Parade of Athletes,” which is the blending of all the athletes, a tradition that began during the 1956 Summer Olympics. Before closing the Olympic games with the Olympic Flame being extinguished, the next host nation introduces itself. This is usually done with much artistic pomp to whet the excitement of the audience in anticipation for what’s yet to come, and Japan did not disappoint!

2020 Tokyo Olympics with its slogan “Discover Tomorrow” promises to bring into focus Japan’s technological innovations with its high-tech cool theme.  The presentation began with hundreds of performers garbed in traditional Japanese costumes gliding through the arena to display the flag of Japan. This was followed by a fast-paced sporting and cultural video tour of Tokyo. A multilingual translation app is available on smartphones to describe the entire scene.  It seems like pure science fiction but this is what Japan wants to bring to life in the next games in four years, truly an Olympic feat in technology. No less than Japan’s Prime Minister himself, Shinzo Abe, made an appearance at the closing ceremonies in Rio dressed as the iconic Super Mario game character.  A remarkable show stopper indeed!

Here’s  a clip of the closing ceremony of the 2016 RIO Olympic Games (YouTube upload by Olympic):