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Closing ceremony Tokyo Olympics 2021: performances and flag bearers by country | as it happened

Athletes celebrate during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, on August 8, 2021.

Tokyo Olympic Games closing ceremony: live

And that is pretty much it from us for the closing ceremony. Enjoy the Paralympics and we'll see you in Paris in 2024!

And that is followed by the crash of the fireworks loaded on top of the stadium and a huge one-word legend appears on the screens: Arigato.

A preview for the Paralympics, which begin in two weeks, plays on the big screens (the first time that has been the case at a closing ceremony).

And now the symbolic extinguishing of the Olympic flame, to be relit in three years' time in Paris.

And fine words they were, noting how difficult it has been to stage the Games this year due to the covid-19 pandemic. IOC chief Bach declares the Games of the XXXII Olympiad closed.

There'll be a few words from the dignitaries now, probably a decent chance to stick the kettle on before the fireworks.

Fans and French athletes at the Eiffel Tower celebrate as the French Air Force's Alphas fly in formation overhead, the colours of the French flag flowing from their tails.

We have a montage of Paris and some of the Olympic sites underway now, and a spot of saxophone from a French astronaut on the International Space Station!

And now the moment Paris has been waiting for... the official passing of the Olympic baton (in the form of the flag) to the 2024 national committee, represented by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. And that, madames and monsieurs, is a decent enough excuse for a spot of La Marseillaise.

IOC chief Thomas Bach comes onto the stage and the Olympic flag is about to be lowered, in time-honoured tradition.

The athletes in the stadium are invited to join in with the dance led from the stage... with mixed results shall we say, but it's a nice moment anyway!

Remembering the volunteers

Now an artistic display, as one of Japan's most famous actresses takes to the stage dressed as a tree.

Her graceful performance is followed by a number of remote traditional dances and festivals of Japan that we are able to enjoy via the big screen. From a song and traditional dance of the Ainu people, to the Ryukyu Eisa, the Nishimonai Bon Odori, and the Gujo Odori, it's an interesting collection.

It starts with a drum.

It's time for reflection on what has come before.

Lights down. Silence. What's about to happen?

Montage time!

The thousands of volunteers around Japan are given their recognition in a short video clip.

This is followed by the aforementioned new IOC members handed over a gift to a selection of the volunteers. Nice touch!

The marathon medal ceremony is over, and we now welcome the newest members of the IOC commission, those that represent the athletes.

Men's marathon

Up step the gents. Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathon runner of all time, takes his gold and we listen again to the Kenyan national anthem.

By his side are silver medalist Abdi Nageeye from the Netherlands, and Belgium's Bashir Abdi, although both were a speck in the rear view mirror of the winner.

It must be pretty amazing to receive your medal in front of the watching millions as well as all those other athletes in the stadium.

Well, they did have to run 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 kilometers in new money) to get there.

Women's marathon

The bronze, silver and gold medals go to Seidel from the USA, Kosgei and Jepchirchir representing Kenya, respectively.

Medal awards

It is time for medal winners to receive their prize. Don't worry, it's not ALL of them (although that did happen in the past - can you imagine!?) but just those that are remaining...the women's and man's marathons.

And the calm returns

All the entertainers depart the arena and the Greek national anthem is played as the corresponding flag is raised alongside that of Japan.

There is one flagpole left to be filled. Can you guess which nation will go there?

Just when you think you've seen it all, they throw in some skippers - i.e. people who jump over a rope with incredible coordination - and freestyle footballers - i.e. people who kick a ball up and down with incredible coordination.

There is a ton of other stuff going on out there but, to be honest, I either can't keep up or don't have the words to describe it.

There are always critics

The tunes change once again. This is almost like a 1980s US action show theme with a hint of big band and hip-hop. Yeah, what mix.

The view is a BMX freestyler so the dates align. Impressive stuff on the bike.

Big finish on the drums! Always good to see.

Scratch my previous comment. The latest set of jingles that are accompanying the jugglers, dancers and acrobats are going into my ringtone collection.

Not sure if it'll be someone I like that gets it assigned to them, though.

Trumpets and trumbones now.

This is a glimpse, they say, of everyday Tokyo. Actors, dancers, musicians and other street performers circle the athletes and flag bearers.

If you're banned from getting out and seeing your host city, your host city will come to you, type thing.

The athletes are all packed in, many wearing masks, and now the music changes to a much more inspiring, emotional theme.

Everyone inside has been asked to light up the stadium with their mobile devices and the artistry from the organisers turns them into five flying golden rings.

Rather impressive effects, I must say.

Olympic protests

Clearly there is still a lot of frustration and anger in the country over these Games going ahead but a protest now feels as though it may not have the effect they want.

No doubt, however, there will still be a review of just what harm this has had on Tokyo.

Want to know how to get relatively tranquil Olympic athletes to go a bit crazy?

Point a stadium cam in their general direction and see them dance. It's like a shot of Jägerbomb being injected straight into the veins. Fun to watch though!

The stars of these Games are in party mood and many are frantically waving around their flags to a few thousand empty seats.

Their own mobile phones are capturing plenty of personalised footage that can go onto an old hard drive when they get home to be dusted off and plugged in when the grandchildren pop round in a few years.

"Not this again, grandad!" we can hear in the echoes of the future.

Wow, there are still a lot of athletes here!

They continue to flood into the area and the cheerful melody continues on what appears to be an infinite loop. Maybe I'll get that as my ringtone!

A circle of flags

Athletes time!

Here they come. It's a free-for-all as the athletes than remain in Tokyo begin to fill the stadium.

Remember that many have already gone back home given that there were covid protocols in place to reduce the numbers here as quickly as possible. If your favourite performed in the last couple of days then there's a chance he or she is still here.

We're now being treated to a short montage of some of the best moments of these Games. Great sporting achievements and wonderful shows of teamwork and compassion.

That's us, a beautiful array of colours lined up. Photo to follow...


The flags continue to fill up the middle circle, slowly does it but it'll look good when its finished.

US flag bearer

Chicago Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair reminds us of the woman carrying the flag for Team USA.


Still lit

As we watch all the flags take their places in the centre of the field, a quick glance up shows that the flame is still with us. Not for long sadly...

Once the flag is up and the anthem ends, the music immediately becomes much more upbeat. Big orchestral beats welcome in the flag bearers from all the competing nations.


The flag is slowly raised up the pole while Kimigayo is performed by the all-female Takarazuka Revue.

Rather emotional this...

Members of the Japanese military take over the flag carrying duties, take it up the stairs and prepare to listen to the national anthem.

A large Japanese flag is now walked into the arena, six members of the local delegation carrying it slowly towards its resting place.

The carriers are judo Olympic champion TAKATO Naohisa, Youth Olympic Games champion in breaking KAWAI Ramu, swimming Olympic champion OHASHI Yui, a doctor YOKOTA Hiroyuki, artistic gymnastics medallist KITAZONO Takeru, and fashion model Amane, who has a leg impairment.

The dignitaries are being welcomed in - in French, English and Japanese - and take their seats in a relatively empty stadium.

His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Akishino has entered the stadium alongside IOC President Thomas Bach.

Golden Ledecky

One of the stars of the pool said her goodbye some time ago.

USWNT says thanks

There are plenty of teams and nations saying their thanks on social media. I'll share a number of them across this coverage.


It's time

A helicopter hovers above the Tokyo stadium as we get ready to say thank you and goodbye to our host over the past two weeks.

Soon, the activities inside will begin...


A truly global sporting event

Despite there being a pandemic, the Games were to go ahead and in doing so brought in a record 83 teams to the finals in Tokyo-.

From those, 43 different nations/teams made it onto the medal podium and 23 of those won gold.

To the people of Japan, we know the hardship you have endured and continue to endure in the face of this global pandemic.

We owe you a massive debt of gratitude for your gracious hospitality, your professionalism and your friendship. You really have been simply the best and we thank you unreservedly.

Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President

Olympic baton pass getting closer

OK, we're only a few minutes away from the ceremony beginning and it's a great time to think of some of the highlights we've seen across the various sporting arenas...

It all began on 21 July in Fukushima - wow, that feels like an eternity ago - with the softball, and ended just a couple of hours ago in the pool as the waterpolo competition was decided.

One of the biggest headlines turned out to be Simone Biles' withdrawal - and in doing so increased the focus on the importance of mental health - while Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs shocked many by taking the men's 100m gold.

Jason Kenny became the first Briton to win seven Olympic gold medals, and then there were the first athletics medals for the likes of India and Burkina Faso. It's also worth noting that 55 per cent of the national records at the Tokyo 2020 Games were set in women’s disciplines.


Getting your flags in order

According to the International Olympic Committee, the flag parade should be in the host's language alphabetical order, with the exception of Greece, which opens the entry due to historical reasons and the host country, in this case Japan, bringing up the rear. France and USA will enter second-to-last and third-to-last respectively, as the next two host nations of the Olympic Games.

Each country's national Olympic committee decide on an athlete to be the flag bearer.

Find out more about the protocols for the closing ceremony.

Where are the 2022 Winter Olympics being staged?


Where are the 2022 Winter Olympics being staged?

In July of 2015, the Chinese city of Beijing was awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics with the event scheduled to go ahead next year from 4-20 February with these set to be the first Winter Olympics staged in China.

The city won the final bid beating Kazakhstan's Almaty by 44 to 40 votes, but the last few months have seen continued opposition from politicians in the US, the UK and elsewhere.

Olympic anthem: did you know?

The Olympic anthem or "Olympic Hymn" was originally created in 1896 by a Greek poet. However, it was later adapted in 1958 by the International Olympic Committee and played for the first time at the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Here the BBC gives a lovely account of the music that aligns itself with the Games.

Closing ceremony: who's performing?

The IOC has remained quiet about who the artists performing at Tokyo's closing ceremony are going to be.

However, even if no official confirmation has been made yet, our money is on seeing the Jonas Brothers in action.

Several weeks ago the JB posted a Tik-Tok where they promoted their new song by saying they were going to perform at the Tokyo Olympic Games, a performance that hasn't yet happened...

Will today be the day the American teen icons perform live?

The most heartwarming moments from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Olympic Games

The most heartwarming moments from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

In reference to the last post, it may not be an actual sporting performance that makes your top spot.

The Olympics are always full of emotions, but this year’s have been unique following a year of a pandemic, and there have been some really heartwarming moments.

From Simone Biles surprising us all by withdrawing from the competition and shedding a light on the difficult and emotional side of the Olympics, to Laurel Hubbard making history as the first transgender woman to compete in the Olympics, the Tokyo Olympic Games have seen lots of ups and downs of emotions.

But through it all, we have seen competitors show astounding acts of sportsmanship. When stakes are high and the pressure is on, these athletes still show that the true leaders are the ones who stand up for others, applaud their wins, and support each other as fellow athletes and humans.

Jennifer Bubel has pulled together a few delightful moments.

Olympic memories

The Games' official Twitter account is asking you for your favourite moments of the last two weeks. I'm going to have to think long and hard about that. So many!

Tokyo Olympics 2021 medal count updates: who has won more? Tally by country, today, 8 August


Tokyo Olympics 2021 medal count updates: who has won more? Tally by country, today, 8 August

Gold, silver and bronze

Of course, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies being of interest, the real reason we all spend so many hours glued to the television, radio, computer or mobile device is to follow what is happening in the sporting events.

Team USA have once again topped the medal table but there have been some surprise results across the board.

You can check out the final table here along with some of the most recent highlights.

Ending an Olympics: the background

Ahead of today's activities, it's worth understanding a little about the traditions of the past.

The closing ceremony, implemented since the first modern Olympics in Athens back in 1896, is a celebration that takes place to mark the end of the current Games and the beginning of the next ones, in this case Paris 2024.

Each closing ceremony has its own theme set around a certain idea. This year, the International Olympic Commmittee (IOC) has chosen “Worlds we share” as its theme. Organizers say it truly “reflects the Olympic spirit and expresses the idea that each of us inhabits their own world”.

Even though the way each host country conveys artistically the theme is different, there are still certain structures to follow throughout the ceremony. Those protocols were set in 1920 with Antwerp as its first “traditional” closing ceremony.

Some of the rules that remain are: the parade of nations’ flags, the handing out of medal awards to winners, victory parade which includes all the winners of every event, and the lowering of the Olympic flag, which is then handed over to the following host country.

However, the most representative element of the closing ceremony is the extinguishing of the Olympic flame, which marks the true end of the Games.

Olympic Games closing ceremony: welcome

Hello and welcome to our final live coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

We had to wait a year for the sporting show of excellence - and even then there were risks and doubts about it going ahead - but as we draw towards the end, we can reflect on some truly remarkable performances.

Join us as we take you through the final moments of the action in Tokyo, and we look ahead to Paris 2024.


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