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Tokyo Olympics opening and closing ceremonies to be 'simpler and more restrained'

Virus Outbreak Olympics Tokyo 2020
Posted at 6:20 AM, Dec 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-23 08:20:03-05

When the delayed Tokyo Games kick-off next year, the opening and closing ceremonies will be “simpler and more restrained,” according to the organizing committee.

In an announcement Tuesday, the group said they were reorganizing their staff in charge of planning the symbolic, and in recent years large-scale, productions. Hiroshi Sasaki will now head up planning the events.

While making no mention of how the ceremonies’ formats will be modified, the group said they will still be a celebration and reflect the “overall simplification of the Games” while still taking into consideration the need for COVID-19 safety measures.

The new productions are expected to add roughly $35 million (US) to the cost of the opening and closing ceremonies, according to organizers.

The 2020Tokyo Games were supposed to happen this summer. However, as the coronavirus spread around the world, the games were postponed in March to 2021.

“We are working to deliver Opening and Closing Ceremonies that will be in tune with the situation next summer. The ceremonies will still be a great celebration to be enjoyed by the athletes and watching world but will likely take a simpler and more restrained approach designed to reflect the overall simplification of the Games and the potential need to still consider COVID-19 countermeasures,” the Tokyo Games Organizing Committee said in a statement.

Sasaki is no stranger to Olympic ceremonies, he was responsible for the flag handover ceremony at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and directed the one-year countdown event held in Tokyo this summer.

“With Mr. (Hiroshi) Sasaki’s support, we will stage Opening and Closing Ceremonies that will be remembered for many years to come as symbols of the unity and symbiosis of humankind in its overcoming of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the committee stated.

The Tokyo Olympics are now planned to open on July 23, 2021.