Strong Greek and Australian presence at closing ceremony of Tokyo Olympics


And just like that, the Tokyo Olympics are over.

It was one of the most uncertain, unprecedented and unlikely-to-go-ahead Games ever — but hard-working volunteers, determined organisers and resilient athletes managed to put on an Olympics that gave the world hope after a pretty hopeless 18 months. 

If you missed the closing ceremony, here are some of the key moments:

Australian and Greek athletes enter ceremony with pride:

Not all of the athletes from Greece and Australia stayed long enough after their competitions to attend the Olympic closing ceremony but those who did looked like they had a good time. There was dancing, singing and plenty of smiling.

Members of the Australian team, and the obligatory mascot, at the closing ceremony in Tokyo. Photo: Getty Images.

The Australian flag was carried into the stadium by sailing gold medalist, Mathew Belcher, the country’s most successful Australian sailor in Olympic history. 

The Greek flag was carried by the captain of the men’s national water polo team, Giannis Fountoulis. Later in the evening, the water polo teammates, who had won an Olympic silver medal just two hours before, can be heard proudly singing the Greek National Anthem.

Photo: Hellenic Olympic Committee.

Greek flag is raised and the Greek National Anthem is played:

As is tradition, the Greek flag was flying proudly at the closing ceremony alongside the host country’s. The Greek National Anthem was also played loudly.

This is done as a way of honouring the ancient origins of the Olympic Games. The tournament dates back to 776BC, when the games were held every four years in Greece out of respect for the god Zeus.

They ran until 393AD, and then took quite the hiatus before they took part again. The next Games, and the first modern Olympic Games, was held in Athens, Greece in 1896 – some 1503 years later!

Six lucky athletes get their medals in front of a real crowd:

Most of the Tokyo 2020 medal ceremonies were conducted in front of a handful of fellow competitors and coaches.

But the men’s and women’s marathon medallists were presented with gold, silver and bronze in front of hundreds — the stands were still empty, but all their fellow closing ceremony athletes and performers were there to cheer them on. 

Bashir Adbi of Belgium, Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands and Eliud Kipchoge were awarded bronze, silver and gold respectively, as were the USA’s Molly Seidel, Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei and fellow Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir.

Not everyone gets to receive their medals from IOC president Thomas Bach — the marathon runners did. Photo: AP / David Goldman.

Powerful words from the IOC President:

The President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, reminded us that there were so many times these Games very nearly didn’t go ahead at all — but the hard work of so many made it happen. 

He thanked everyone from the athletes to “the national Olympic committees, the international federations, our top partners, sponsors, and rights-holding broadcasters for their truly outstanding show of unity and support.”

“In these difficult times you gave to the world the most precious of gifts — hope,” Mr Bach said to the athletes.

“For the first time since the pandemic began, the entire world came together. Sport returned to centre stage. Billions of people around the globe were united by emotion, sharing moments of joy and inspiration.

“This gives us hope. This gives us faith in the future. The Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020 are the Olympic Games of hope, solidarity and peace… On behalf of all the athletes, we say thank you, Tokyo. Thank you, Japan.”

Thomas Bach. Photo: Getty Images / Dan Mullan.

France and the Paralympics to look forward to:

Near the end of the closing ceremony, viewers were raced through the iconic city of Paris in a preview of what’s to come in 2024, before throwing to a party in the streets below the Eiffel Tower — featuring none other than some of France’s most recent Olympic medallists who had already arrived home.

The Patrouille de France – France’s version of the RAAF’s Roulettes — also painted the sky red, white and blue in a stunning aerobatics.

The 2020 Summer Paralympics are also on everyone’s must-watch list when they begin on Tuesday, August 24 this year.




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