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Why doesn't Team USA dip the flag at the opening ceremony in the Olympic Games?

The opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will take place on Friday 23 July at the National Stadium in the Japanese capital.

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 22: Stefanie Dolson and Kelsey Plum of Team USA practice in 3x3 basketball at Aomi Urban Sports Park ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 22, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian PetersenGetty Images

Scandal emerged overshadowing the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony after it was revealed that the director of the ceremony of Tokyo Olympics has been dismissed, organisers said on Thursday, following news reports about his past comments on the Holocaust.Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto told a briefing that Kentaro Kobayashi had been dismissed because of past comments that made fun of a tragedy.

Organisers will be also hoping that the ceremony which hails the official start of the Olympics will be instrumental in turning the public's focus to sporting activity with the delayed Games being criticized in many quarters locally and internationally given the latest covid-19 situation in the 'land of the rising sun'.

Flagbearers to send messages of equality and justice at opening ceremony

Many Olympic nations are expected to demonstrate their support for gender equality and racial justice on Friday night with their selections of athletes to carry flags at the opening ceremony.

The International Olympic Committee changed it rules and asked each nation to select two flagbearers in an effort to increase gender equality at the Tokyo Games.

Team USA and dipping the flag

During the opening ceremony at any Games, it is commonplace from each participating nation's flag-barer to dip the flag as they pass the VIP area where local dignitaries are assembled.

The US have refused to complete this gesture with many suggesting that this is a tradition dating back to the 1908 London Olympics. Irish American Ralph Rose refused to dip the US flag in the presence of King Edward VII given the hostility between both England and Ireland at the time. Despite the US flag being dipped in 1912, post war tensions saw no flag dipping in the pre-and post First and Second World Wars and the tradition has continued to modern day.

Both Team USA flag bearers, baseball and basketball players Eddy Alvarez and Sue Bird will be under heavy scrutiny in Tokyo on Friday evening to see if they buck the non-flag dip trend.


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