The opening ceremonies are traditionally a showcase for the host country, and the theme is "United by Emotion," according to the hosts, with the mission to "reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, to express our gratitude and admiration for the efforts we all made together over the past year, and also to bring a sense of hope for the future."
In Tokyo's first Summer Games since 1964, 206 nations and more than 11,000 athletes will participate. Team USA has 613 athletes, the second most in team history.
Here are some of best moments at the opening ceremonies:
Best of the performances
Tokyo 1964 ➡️ #Tokyo2020— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
The wood used to make the Olympic Rings comes from trees grown from seeds brought by international athletes the last time Tokyo hosted the Olympic Games. 😍🌳#StrongerTogether #OpeningCeremony pic.twitter.com/DFeMAmF28Y
Apart, but not alone.— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
With the emergence of COVID-19, many athletes had to train for this moment in isolation. But they were always connected by their hope and shared passion. ❤️#StrongerTogether #OpeningCeremony pic.twitter.com/7teAvhljXe
Check out the fits
Team USA's flag-bearers, basketball player Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez will be wearing special cooling jackets to deal with the summer heat. For the ceremonies, the temperature is in the low 80s.
Argentina is jacked to be here
Parade of nations
The traditional march into the Olympic stadium by the participating nations is one of the highlights of the opening ceremonies.
Greece is always the first nation to enter -- that's what you get when you started this whole thing back in 776 B.C. The 205 other groups will proceed in alphabetical order based on the Japanese alphabet.
Notable in the procession is that Russia will not officially participate as a country, having been banned for its state-sponsored doping program. Russian athletes can still compete, just not behind their country's flag.
There is also a team of refugee athletes from countries including Syria, South Sudan, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Iran.
The Parade of Athletes begins! 🌏— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
The first athletes to enter the stadium are from Greece, the historical home of the Olympic Games. #GRE@HellenicOlympic | #OpeningCeremony | #Tokyo2020 | #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/DoueNijuQx
For the second time in its history, the Olympic Games welcome the IOC Refugee Olympic Team!❤️— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
Leading the delegation into the stadium are the flagbearers, swimmer @YusraMardini and marathon runner Tachlowini Gabriyesos.#StrongerTogether #OpeningCeremony #EoR @RefugeesOlympic pic.twitter.com/ftVl2Kzd4H
They're here and they're representing over 1 BILLION people! #IND— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
Proudly carrying the flag are Olympic boxing medallist Mary Kom and hockey star Manpreet Singh for @WeAreTeamIndia.#StrongerTogether #OpeningCeremony pic.twitter.com/XpNbvd00oH
Welcome to #Tokyo2020, People's Republic of China 🇨🇳— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
In just over six months' time, the world will come together again for the @Beijing2022 Winter Olympic Games!#OpeningCeremony | #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/VDqHsUHDz9
The GOAT is ready
LET THE GAMES BEGIN ✨ pic.twitter.com/6jYpzT0min— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) July 23, 2021
Simone Biles is trying to defend her women's all-around gymnastics gold medal and add to her total of five Olympic medals. Would you bet against her?
When her coach, Cecile Landi, first saw Biles attempt the Yurchenko double pike vault to a mat last summer, she said, "Every coach, every gymnast -- we knew we were witnessing history and something we are probably never going to see again."
Shirtless Tongan is back
Everyone's favorite shirtless Tongan has entered the building. Pita Taufatofua, Tongan taekwondo practitioner, skier and canoeist -- he's competed in both the Summer (taekwondo) AND Winter (cross-country skiing) Games -- made a lasting impression at the 2016 Rio Games when he entered the opening ceremony shirtless and covered in oil.
Much to the delight of the internet, he ran back his signature look as one of the flag-bearers for Team Tonga on Friday.
Taufatofua, who is one of two Tongans to ever reach the Winter Games, teased before the ceremony that he would be making his signature entrance.
Its Time.. 🇹🇴🇹🇴🇹🇴 pic.twitter.com/2nhGTqHRPb— Pita Taufatofua (@pitaTofua) July 23, 2021
The next-best thing
You know what they say: If you can't make it, fake it ... or something like that.
Abby Dahlkemper and Megan Rapinoe weren't able to attend the opening ceremony in person, but that didn't stop them from reveling in the moment. The soccer stars, dressed in their best Team USA garb, pretended they were partaking in the parade of nations by raising the roof and pretending to be flag-bearer Sue Bird, respectively.
Like mother, like son
He got it from his mama. JaVale McGee, who got called up to Team USA as an emergency selection due to injuries, could make history if he can help men's basketball to its fourth straight gold medal.
The two-time NBA champion just so happens to be the son of another former Olympic basketball player and gold medalist, Pamela McGee. If Team USA men's basketball claims gold, JaVale and Pamela would become the first mother-son duo to win Olympic gold in the sport.
FLOTUS in the house
Dr. Jill Biden, the first lady of the United States, will represent America at the ceremonies. President Joe Biden will not attend the Games. This is the not the first time a first lady has represented the country at the Olympics. In 1994, Hillary Clinton attended the Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Laura Bush attended the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and Michelle Obama represented America at the 2012 Summer Games in London.