Photos: Highlights Of The Tokyo Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony

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.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.