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Moment of silence for Munich victims held at Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

i24NEWS - AFP

clock 2 min read

Dancers perform during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo, Japan, on July 23, 2021.
AP Photo/Kirsty WigglesworthDancers perform during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo, Japan, on July 23, 2021.

First time murder of Israeli athletes, coaches in 1972 recognized at Olympic opening ceremony

The opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games kicked off shortly after 8:00 p.m. local time at the Olympic Stadium on Friday.

For the first time, a minute's silence was observed in memory of the Israeli athletes and coaches murdered at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Their names were also mentioned.

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted: "I want to express my gratitude to Japan for hosting the Olympics in these difficult times and I express my full confidence in their success. I wish the great Israeli team the best of luck."

The Tokyo Olympics, postponed for a year due to the pandemic, will be officially declared open during the ceremony, around 11:00 p.m. local time, by the Emperor of Japan Naruhito, before the Olympic cauldron ignites at around 11:30 p.m. to shine until August 8 and the close of the Games.

Japan and the world have been waiting for this moment since September 8, 2013 and the designation of Tokyo as the host city of the 2020 Olympic Games. 

The ceremony was originally scheduled to take place on July 24, 2020 and celebrate Japan and the Olympic spirit. With a year late, it marks above all, more than the beginning of two weeks of sporting exploits, the end of a long and trying marathon for the Japanese organizers.

In the particular context of a world living under the threat of COVID-19, the ceremony will be "simpler and more sober."

There will be the parade of 206 delegations lined up behind, for the first time, two flag bearers, a woman and a man (judoka Clarisse Agbegnenou and gymnast Samir Aït Saït for France), but no crowd to applaud them in an Olympic Stadium in Tokyo which can normally accommodate 68,000 spectators.