Japan's Intro at the Rio Olympics Closing Ceremony Has Us 'Super' Excited for Tokyo 2020
By Meredith B. Kile
As the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil came to a close on Sunday night, it was time for the Olympic torch to start making its way toward the site of the next Summer Games: Tokyo, Japan.
Following Olympic custom, the Japanese Olympic committee staged a theatrical introduction to their upcoming Games at the end of Sunday’s closing ceremony in Rio, and they did it with the help of one of their county’s most recognizable characters.
Japan’s impressive intro video -- featuring some of the country’s standout athletes and pop culture touchstones -- was capped off by a cameo from prime minister Shinzo Abe, who transformed himself into the beloved video game character, Mario, and took a Nintendo-style warp pipe all the way to the Maracana stadium!
With a little help from Mario, Tokyo is ready to host the 2020 Olympics.
Abe -- who, according to NBC’s Bob Costas, told reporters that he was more excited to win the Olympics for his country than he was to win his own election -- then emerged from the pipe in the middle of the ceremony, donning Mario’s signature red cap and holding a glowing red ball that symbolizes the red sun in the center of the Japanese flag.