Let the Tokyo Games begin: What to know about Olympic opening ceremony

Japan 2020

Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The long-awaited opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics has arrived.

It’s the first major global gathering since the start of the pandemic.

Back in March 2020, Japan’s prime minister and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Games a year due to safety concerns.

Now, extensive COVID-19 precautions are in place for athletes, broadcasters and sponsors alike. Even before arriving in Japan, they needed to provide two negative tests for the virus.

There will be no spectators in Tokyo, but the opening ceremony still promises fireworks, flagbearers and fanfare.

So where can you watch it and who should you watch out for? WSAV, your home for the Olympics, has rounded up the key details.

Sue Bird and Eddy Alvares, of the United States of America, carry their country’s flag during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

NBC viewing schedule

In addition to primetime coverage Friday night, NBC will broadcast the opening ceremony live across all time zones in the morning with a replay overnight.

Coverage can also be streamed in the NBC Sports app and on NBCOlympics.com.

  • Live opening ceremony coverage: 6:55 a.m. to 11 a.m. (livestream link)
  • Special edition of TODAY: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tokyo Olympics daytime: 1 to 4 p.m. (livestream link)
  • Primetime opening ceremony: 7:30 p.m. to midnight (livestream link)
  • Overnight replay: 12:35 to 5 a.m.

Exclusive coverage from WSAV

At 1 p.m. Friday, WSAV will share a digital-exclusive livestream all about the Olympics. Tune in on wsav.com/olympics or the WSAV Facebook page. These afternoon livestreams will continue every weekday at 1 p.m. throughout the Games.

Don’t miss the “Olympic Zone” airing six days a week, Monday through Saturday, on WSAV and streaming live on wsav.com/livestream.

Fast facts about the ceremony

  • Theme: “United in Emotion”
  • Executive producer: Takayuki Hioki
  • First to enter: Greece, home of Ancient Olympic Games
  • Third-to-last: U.S.
  • Last to enter: Japan, host nation
  • Closing ceremony: Sunday, Aug. 8

Why the U.S. will have two flag bearers for the first time

Sue Bird (basketball) and Eddy Alvarez (baseball) have been chosen as Team USA flag bearers.

Who is competing from Savannah, surrounding areas?

Cheryl Haworth, of Savannah, Georgia, will compete in women’s weightlifting.

Weightlifters C.J. Cummings and Mahassen Hala Fattouh are competing from Beaufort, South Carolina, though Fattouh will be playing for Nigeria.

Savannah State University alumna Ezinne Kalu will be competing for Nigeria.

Below, watch a feature on Fattouh from WSAV’s News 3’s Andrew Davis about her journey to making history as the first Lebanese woman to ever take part in an Olympic weightlifting competition.

WSAV will be tracking the athletes’ successes in Tokyo. Follow along at wsav.com/olympics or on the Olympics section on the WSAV NOW app.

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