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The honour fell to Naomi Osaka to light the flame, the beacon of hope the Olympics attempts to be.
It marked the official opening of Tokyo 2020, a year later than planned, and in the midst of a global pandemic.
Perhaps as expected, Friday’s opening ceremony was not of the usual ilk. No carnival like Rio, no skydiving monarchs like London, but a more sombre tone, a sobering reminder that this is a Games taking place in a world still facing its toughest challenge.