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Opening ceremony kicks off 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

Click to play video: 'Tokyo Olympics: Games officially kick off with fireworks at opening ceremony' Tokyo Olympics: Games officially kick off with fireworks at opening ceremony
WATCH: Tokyo Olympics: Games officially kick off with fireworks at opening ceremony – Jul 23, 2021

After being postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has officially kicked off.

The Olympic Games opening ceremony took place Friday, and is typically a chance for competing countries and athletes to show off their pride and culture, but this year was a little different.

Normally held in a stadium full of ecstatic fans, this year’s ceremony had international athletes parade around a near-empty venue after it was announced fans would not be allowed to attend because of rising COVID-19 cases in Japan.

Read more: Japan’s Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron as 2020 Games begin

Athletes from around the world, including Canada, took part in the ceremony for the Summer Games, which will run until Aug. 8.

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Canada has sent 370 athletes to the Olympics, the nation’s largest delegation since 1984.

Click to play video: 'Team Canada names flag-bearers for Tokyo Olympic Games' Team Canada names flag-bearers for Tokyo Olympic Games
Team Canada names flag-bearers for Tokyo Olympic Games – Jul 19, 2021

But only 30 to 40 athletes marched into the Olympic Stadium, the Canadian Olympic Committee has previously said, saying athletes aren’t allowed into the Olympic Village until five days before they compete.

Many of them were too close to the start of their competition to join flagbearers Miranda Ayim of the women’s basketball team and men’s rugby sevens co-captain Nathan Hirayama.

Read more: Canada at the Tokyo Olympics — Who’s competing, attending opening ceremony Friday

The ceremony’s theme was “United by Emotion,” as officials are aspiring to reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, express gratitude and admiration for the efforts made over the past year, and also bring a sense of hope for the future, the Olympics website says.

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Despite all the difficulties the International Olympic Committee has faced to stage the Games amid a global pandemic, president Thomas Bach previously said he believes the ceremonies will be a moment of “joy and relief.”

The live blog is now closed but you can read our coverage in the archived version below.

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