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Team USA shows what it was like to walk in the Tokyo Opening Ceremony

Organizers said about 5,700 athletes took part in the parade. Some skipped it because of early competitions or to avoid the risk of exposure to COVID.

WASHINGTON — The postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics officially kicked off early Friday morning with the Opening Ceremony.

The ceremony was the first prominent celebration of the competition, but this year it looked and sounded slightly different without fans. However, it still included performances, pageantry and the Parade of Nations.

Organizers said about 5,700 athletes took part in the parade. Some skipped it because of early competitions on Saturday or to avoid risk of exposure to the coronavirus. And this parade differed from most others in the past because the nations were being spaced out — a nod to social distancing.

Also new this Olympics was the order of the nations behind flag bearers. The International Olympic Committee says tradition dictates that the parade is in alphabetical order, according to the language of the host country, with the exception of Greece leading the parade and the host country bringing up the rear.

Future Olympic host nations also marched at the end of the parade right before the host country. So, the United States was the third to last country in the Tokyo Olympics Parade of Nations because the 2028 Summer Games will be held in Los Angeles.

Credit: AP
Sue Bird and Eddy Alvares, of the United States of America, carry their country's flag during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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France, which is hosting the 2024 Olympics, was second to last, just before host nation Japan.

Most of Team USA was in the stadium celebrating the start of the Games and shared their experience on social media. Here's a look at the event from the athletes' perspective.

Team USA athletes who weren't able to celebrate in the parade of nations found creative ways to watch. Check it out below: