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After a year-long delay, the Tokyo Olympics are finally underway.
The games officially commenced with Friday's opening ceremony at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, but fans were not invited to attend the festivities due to COVID-19 restrictions in Japan.
Though the Tokyo festivities were a sight to behold nonetheless, photos of past Olympics' opening ceremonies show just how stark the differences were.
Insider worked with Getty Images to compare shots from their photographers in Tokyo to ones from past games, from the most recent in Rio de Janeiro, London, and Beijing to those dating all the way back to 1912.
Mike Heiman - Getty Images' VP of Editorial Operations who is currently in Tokyo - spoke to Insider about the differences between these games and those of the past.
A foreword from Getty Images' VP of Editorial Operations Mike Heiman:
"As my seventh Olympic Games with Getty Images, my first being Beijing 2008, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 felt like a long time coming after them being postponed in March 2020 due to the pandemic. For months after postponement, there was a ton of doubts that they might not happen at all in 2021, but it was exciting to finally make it to Tokyo and be at the opening ceremony.
The Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee put on an opening ceremony that was incredibly impressive, respectful, and fitting under the shadow of a global pandemic. All opening ceremonies typically follow a similar theme - promoting the culture of the host country, celebrating the athletes that are in attendance, and showcasing how the power of sport unites us all. While last night's celebration was a different and more reserved spectacle than past ceremonies, these themes still rang through.
This year's ceremonies were a series of moments and elements that were truly very moving and inspiring and especially uniting for a record global TV audience. And despite there being less athletes in attendance, the pride and honor for their countries during the parade of nations was still so vibrant and infectious. You couldn't help but feel proud and excited for the athletes and for the Olympic Games to officially start, and the imagery we produced was a testament to that.
Getty Images' set up for these ceremonies were also a little different than usual. We typically have a team of about 16 photographers supported by a team of 8 editors and technicians on the ground at the ceremony. However, this year, due to social distance guidelines, we had a team of 11 photographers supported by four additional people onsite. Luckily, with our some of our proprietary softwares and the press plus network that we have implemented with local telco company NTT for these Olympic Games, our team was able to support and live edit the opening ceremonies with 40 remote editors and technicians from various locations around the world.
When it was all done, our photographers captured over 34,000 photos from the event. Although different, these opening ceremonies were a special moment in history to witness and something I will never forget. The roaring excitement of fans and look of a full stadium was definitely a miss, but the lights, colors, costume, music, fireworks and of course, lighting of the Olympic cauldron by the incredible Naomi Osaka was a spectacular kick off to an epic two weeks of sport and action."
Now check out photos that capture the differences between the Tokyo Olympics and Olympics Games of the past.
THEN: Stockholm 1912 - Swedish gymnasts enter the old stadium in Stockholm in the 1912 Olympic Games and march past the Swedish Royal family.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Members of Team Japan enter the empty Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
THEN: Antwerp 1920 - Teams assemble in front of a crowd for the opening ceremony of the 1920 Summer Olympics.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - A drone display is seen over the top of the stadium during the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.
THEN: Los Angeles 1932 - Almost 2,000 athletes enter the Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles to join in the ceremonies opening the 10th Olympiad.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Team China walks through a fan-less Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony in Japan.
THEN: London 1948 - Athletes parade during the opening ceremony of the 1948 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - A flag donning the Olympic rings is carried towards the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony in Tokyo.
THEN: Melbourne 1956 - Ron Clarke of Australia lights the Olympic Torch at a packed opening ceremony for the 17th Olympic Games.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Naomi Osaka of Team Japan lights the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony at the empty Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
THEN: Tokyo 1964 - Yoshinori Sakai, a student born in Hiroshima on the day the first atomic bomb devastated the city, carries the torch to light the cauldron during the opening ceremony for the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Naomi Osaka of Team Japan carries the Olympic torch towards the cauldron without anyone else in sight.
THEN: Mexico City 1968 - Mexico's Norma Enriqueta Basilio, the first woman in the history of the modern Olympic Games to light the Olympic Fire, runs up the ninety steps with the Olympic Torch.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Tennis star Naomi Osaka carries the Olympic torch during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games opening ceremony at a fan-less Olympic Stadium.
THEN: Munich 1972 - Team USA marches in front of fans in the Parade of Nations at the 1972 Summer Olympics in West Germany.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Team USA marches sans fans in the Parade of Nations at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.
THEN: Moscow 1980 - Spectators take in the opening ceremony of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Russia.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - VIP officials - some of the only people in attendance at Olympic Stadium outside of athletes and performers - look on during the opening ceremony in Tokyo, Japan.
THEN: Los Angeles 1984 - Fans pack into Los Angeles' Memorial Coliseum for the 1984 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Athletes and other opening ceremony participants social distance as the Olympic torch is lit.
THEN: Seoul 1988 - Olympic flag bearers march in the Seoul 1988 Olympics opening ceremony.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - The Olympic flag is raised in front of the empty Olympic stadium during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
THEN: Barcelona 1992 - A giant Olympic flag covers the pitch during the opening ceremony of the XXVth summer Olympic Games at Montjuic stadium.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Athletes gather during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
THEN: Atlanta 1996 - Flags from around the world fly as fans cheer at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games at Atlanta's Olympic Stadium.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - The Olympic flag is raised alongside the Japanese flag in front of empty stands at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
THEN: Sydney 2000 - Fans look on as Cathy Freeman lights the Olympic cauldron at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic cauldron in an empty Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.
THEN: Athens 2004 - Teams enter the stadium for the parade of nations in the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Teams social distance at the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics.
THEN: Beijing 2008 - Drummers perform during the opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics at the National Stadium in Beijing, China.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - Performers dance during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
THEN: London 2012 - Sir Chris Hoy of the Great Britain Olympic cycling team carries his country's flag during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - A small delegation of Team Great Britain athletes participate in the parade of nations while wearing masks.
THEN: Rio de Janeiro 2016 - A crowd swells around teams as they process in the parade of nations at the Rio Summer Olympics.
NOW: Tokyo 2020 - A smattering of people maintain their social distance as teams walk in the parade of nations at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.
Now check out the most brilliant photos from the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics:
Read the original article on Insider