The closing ceremony for the Tokyo Paralympics took place at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday, bringing the games to a close.
While the Paralympic flag was formally passed on to Paris and accepted by the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, as the ceremony — which included singing, dancing, and a parade of nations — came to a close in the Japanese capital, the Paralympic flag was formally passed on to Paris and accepted by the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, in anticipation of hosting the 2024 Games.
It brings to a close nearly two weeks of Paralympic competition, during which China topped the medal table with 96 gold medals and a total of 207 medals. The United Kingdom came in second with 41 golds, followed by the United States with 37.
During his closing ceremony speech, International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons said, “Together, against the odds, we did it.”
“The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games have not just been historic — they have been fantastic.
“In 12 magical days, athletes gave the world confidence, happiness, and hope. Athletes broke records, athletes won hearts, athletes opened minds. Importantly, athletes changed lives.”
The ceremony lasted about two hours and took place in a near-empty stadium with no spectators, as has been the case for much of the Olympics and Paralympics due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Breakdancing, BMX biking, roller-skating, and children’s choirs were among the performances that celebrated youth culture.
As they walked through the stadium, many of the performers wore bright, fluorescent colors and flashed LED lights.
Performers dressed in purple and white smocks danced, clapped, and waved athletes into the stadium during the parade of nations, which had fewer athletes participating than usual closing ceremonies because many had already returned home.
Parading athletes affixed silver badges to a tower that had been laid down on the floor, which was surrounded by a model cityscape of Tokyo that had been erected inside the stadium.
From the stands, Crown Prince Akishino, the heir to Japanese Emperor Naruhito, kept an eye on the proceedings.
Because the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed due to the pandemic, the Paris Games will begin in three years rather than four. On July 26, 2024, the Olympic opening ceremony will take place.