The Tokyo 2020 closing ceremony was an emotional affair. It was the end of a successful Games, which happened during the coronavirus pandemic with a lack of fans, losses of revenue, and numerous restrictions and logistical headaches for all those involved.
Fifteen days have gone by, medals have been won, athletes have achieved their dreams, and IOC president Thomas Bach said: "In these difficult times we are all living through, you give the world the most precious of gifts: hope. For the first time since the pandemic began, the entire world came together. Sport returned to centre stage" - although obviously he did not mean physically.
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President Hashimoto said: "Tonight the curtain falls on a Games of excitement and inspiration, forged by each athlete who took part...I would like to express my deep gratitude to all those in medical services, to everyone who supported and contributed to the Games, and to our hosts, the people of Japan.
"There are no words to describe what you [the athletes] have achieved in Tokyo. You have accepted what seemed unimaginable, understood what had to be done, and through hard work and perseverance overcome unbelievable challenges. This has made you true Olympians. One athlete's jubilant victory is another's bitter defeat. Yet in the space of an instant, winner and loser come together in the same feeling of acknowledgement and respect. This is the beauty of the Olympic Games. This is the value of the Olympic spirit. Please never forget that sight. And in the future, tell the story of what you achieved here with confidence and pride.
"Even as the Games close, a new door opens: a door to the future, opened by athletes and the power of sport. Sport has the power to change the world and our future – and this power, I believe, will carry us through to the next Summer Games in Paris in 2024.
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"Tonight the Olympic flame that has lit up Tokyo will quietly go out. But the hope that has been ignited here will never be extinguished. It will remain alight in the hearts of people all over the world as we continue to hope for peace in the spirit of Ekecheiria, a tradition unbroken from the ancient Olympic Games.
"Our journey continues. Athletes around the world have believed in their own potential and overcome adversity to become Paralympic hopefuls. Now it is time for them to make their mark. We at Tokyo 2020 are ready and waiting for the Paralympic Games. Athletes and people of the world, we hope to welcome you here again someday. See you in Tokyo. Thank you and good night."
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