The Olympics Opening Ceremony has remained a fan-favorite event in the games over the years. A beloved tradition, the ceremony is jam-packed with a variety of performances that are meant to represent the hosting country and its culture. This year’s spectacle in Tokyo, Japan, is sure to delight, but exactly how long is the 2021 Olympics Opening Ceremony? Here’s what to know.
After a year-long delay, the 2021 Olympics Opening Ceremony is set to take place on July 23 at 8 p.m. at Tokyo’s Olympic stadium, meaning U.S. fans will have to wake up at 7 a.m. ET or 4 a.m. PT to watch the festivities, which will be broadcast live on NBC. But for those who’d rather sleep in or have other early morning commitments, no worries — NBC will air a second broadcast later that day. But regardless of when you watch it, make sure to grab some snacks and get comfortable, because the ceremony is scheduled to last four hours, wrapping up at 11 a.m. ET on the NBC broadcast.
Many details about the 2021 Opening Ceremony have been kept under wraps, but looking back at past ceremonies, it’s safe to say 2021 will most likely start with Japan raising its flag and then playing its national anthem. One of the longer parts of the ceremony is known as the parade of nations, during which athletes participating in the Olympics march out into the stadium behind their respective country’s flags. Afterward, a representative from each country takes the Olympic oath, vowing on behalf of their countries to fairly participate in the games.
Another popular event during the Opening Ceremony is the lighting of the torch. The host country usually invites a popular public figure, often a professional athlete, to do the honors. When the games were held in Atlanta back in 1996, it was Muhammad Ali who lit the Olympic cauldron. And in 1964, when the Olympics were first held in Tokyo, Yoshinori Sakai was the torchbearer. Sakai was a talented student-athlete at the time, but he was also chosen for another significant reason: He was born on the outskirts of Hiroshima the day the atomic bomb dropped.
It’s safe to say fans are excitedly waiting to see who will be this year’s torchbearer at the Opening Ceremony. Luckily, they won’t have to be kept in suspense for too long.