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Olympic baton handed to Tokyo as Rio Games close

The hosting duties for the Olympic Games have been handed to Tokyo during a vibrant closing ceremony for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The ceremony featured a parade of athletes and a dramatic extinguishing of the Olympic flame.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach, then took the stage flanked by the Mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, and Tokyo Governor, Yuriko Koike, as the focus shifted from the current host city to its successor in 2020.

Closing the Games, President Bach said:

These were a marvellous Olympics, in a marvellous city. Over the last 16 days a united Brazil inspired the world, in difficult times for all of us, with its irresistible joy for life.

The Olympic flag was passed symbolically from Paes, via the IOC President, to Ms Koike.

The scene was thus set for Tokyo 2020 to take centre stage, as Sugar Loaf mountain gave way to Mount Fuji, and the central area of the stadium morphed into a huge Japanese flag, accompanied by the country’s national anthem.

A film entitled “Warming up Tokyo 2020” then took viewers on a sporting and cultural excursion around the next host city, featuring various Japanese sporting icons, and culminating with a surprise appearance from the country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who, running late to get from Tokyo to Rio, morphs into popular video game character ‘Super Mario’ and is then seen tunnelling between the two cities before appearing in the middle of the stage at the Maracanã Stadium.

The stadium was then filled by a series of animated depictions of the 33 sports that will feature at the Tokyo 2020 Games, the motto of which is “Discover Tomorrow”. These include five new sports: baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing.

At a news conference before the Closing Ceremony, officials from Tokyo 2020 promised to learn from Rio’s example in budgeting and creating a legacy for the city.

Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Toshiro Muto, said:

What they did in Rio was a good reference for us. For the purpose of budget reduction in Rio, various innovative ideas were introduced. For us too, of course we have to reduce costs and not waste money.

We can’t create white elephants. New ideas could be introduced to reduce the budget. We’d like to analyse what kind of processes Rio used.

Toshiro Muto_cropped_400x400

Mr Muto is one of the industry elite speakers that will be speaking at our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2016 event being held at the Yokohama Arena in Japan next month, September 26-28. Make sure to reserve your place at this must-attend event. www.SAEvents.uk.com

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