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Photos: Highlights Of The Tokyo Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony

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Fireworks go off around the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in Tokyo, on July 23, 2021.
Ben Stansall, AFP via Getty Images

Fireworks go off around the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in Tokyo, on July 23, 2021.

Fireworks soared above Tokyo's new Olympic Stadium Friday as the delayed Summer Games finally held its opening ceremony — an event that culminates in lighting the Olympic cauldron.

Athletes marched in front of thousands of empty seats as only a sparse crowd was admitted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Those attending included first lady Jill Biden, who chatted with French President Emmanuel Macron.

A standout moment came midway through the event when Tonga's Pita Taufatofua once again vied to steal the show by marching into the stadium bare-chested (and oiled).

This year's ceremony, titled "United by Emotion," also brought a poignant moment of silence as organizers encouraged people to remember loved ones who were lost to the pandemic.

Despite the cloud cast by the coronavirus — from the one-year postponement to a ban on spectators — athletes showed their excitement finally to be at the Olympics, bouncing and bounding across the stadium floor to open the Games.

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