The Tokyo Olympics closed on the night of Aug. 8 after more than two weeks of competition held amid extraordinary restrictions and mostly behind closed doors, with athletic feats performed for a world still struggling against the coronavirus.
Hundreds of athletes gathered in a nearly empty National Stadium to bid farewell to the largest global sporting event since the start of the pandemic early last year and to a games that looked like no other in history.
“You inspired us with this unifying power of sport. This was even more remarkable given the many challenges you had to face because of the pandemic,” International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach told athletes before he declared the end of the 17-day games in a made-for-TV ceremony.
The flame that was lit in Greece ahead of the unprecedented postponement of the games in March 2020 and burned in a sphere-shaped cauldron throughout the games was extinguished. Soon after, more than 1,000 fireworks burst into the Tokyo sky.
Attended by Crown Prince Fumihito, the younger brother of Emperor Naruhito, the ceremony saw the Olympic flag, raised at the 68,000-seat stadium during the opening ceremony, lowered. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike handed it to Bach, who in turn passed it to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, transferring the baton to the host city of the next Summer Games in 2024. (Kyodo)