Constellation of drones form globe at Tokyo opener

Olympic organizers thanked medical workers at a games overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, as athletes from across the world paraded into an almost empty stadium, their smiles hidden behind masks.

Normally a star-studded display teeming with celebrities, the ceremony was shorn of its glitz, with fewer than 1,000 people in attendance on Friday (July 23), strict social distancing rules and signs calling on spectators to "be quiet around the venue".

The organizers also sent the traditional message of peace as global pop stars sang the John Lennon and Yoko Ono hit "Imagine," while drones formed the shape of the Tokyo Olympic emblem in the sky above the stadium which then transformed into a globe.

Most nations were represented by a man and a woman after the organizers changed rules to allow two flagbearers.