Updated Aug 8, 2021 - Sports

Axios at the Olympics: Tokyo Games close with a flourish

A parade of national flags begins the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Tokyo — More than a year after they were set to begin, and 17 days after their delayed start, the Tokyo Olympics drew to an end on Sunday with the closing ceremony here at Olympic Stadium.

Why it matters: Although COVID-19 delayed the Games and left an indelible mark, organizers hope the Games have left a legacy beyond the disease.

Sunday's ceremony began with the raising of the Japanese flag and a flag parade featuring a single flag bearer from each country, followed by the entrance of some additional athletes.

  • As with the opening ceremony and nearly all the events (with the exception of a few held outside Tokyo), there were no fans, with the stadium audience consisting only of athletes, officials, journalists, photographers and volunteers.

The big picture: The U.S. captured the most gold medals at the Tokyo Games, topping China on the final day thanks to victories in women's volleyball and basketball.

In photos
Athletes with national flags are seen next to the Olympic cauldron.
Athletes with national flags next to the Olympic cauldron during the closing ceremony at the Japan National Stadium, also known as the Olympic Stadium. Photo: Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS via Getty Images
Fireworks above the closing ceremony.
Fireworks erupt above the stadium during the ceremony on Aug. 8. Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
The olympic cauldron surrounded by athletes.
Athletes gather next to the Olympic cauldron. Photo: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP via Getty Images
Athletes pose with their gold medals.
U.S. athletes pose with their gold medals. Photo: Daniel Leaf-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images
Performers dancing.
Performers dance during the closing ceremony. Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images
The olympic stadium during the closing ceremony.
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
performers dancing at the closing ceremony
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
Fireworks at the olympic stadium.
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
A sign reads arigato
Lights display the word "arigato," meaning thank you. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
Fireworks.
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
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