Tokyo Passes Olympic Torch to Paris After Unusual but Memorable Games

Volunteers stand as International Olympic Committee’s President Thomas Bach gives a speech during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Japan took its Olympic bow on Sunday.

Tokyo passed the baton to Paris after staging a Games that was delayed by Covid-19 and dismayed a skeptical public but nonetheless still delivered its share of memorable moments.

The fast-paced and tightly-scripted closing ceremony kicked off at 8 p.m. Tokyo time (7 a.m. ET) and, just like the opening ceremony, was a celebration of sports and Japan. It ended with the word “arigato,” which is Japanese for “thank you,” displayed on a giant screen as the athletes strolled off the field.

And all of it played out at the Tokyo Olympic stadium before an audience of mostly empty seats.

The rest of the world watched it at home, with the event streaming live on NBCOlympics.com and rebroadcast on special coverage later in prime time on NBC.

In the French capital, crowds gathered to celebrate the handover of the summer games to Paris 2024, dancing and celebrating at the foot of the Eiffel Tower while fighter planes trailing a tricolor of blue, white and red smoke swooped through the sky.

“I declare the games of the 32nd Olympiad closed,” Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said as the world bid goodbye to a Games like no other.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Corky Siemaszko