All images courtesy of Ebony Morrison.
Excitement and anticipation set the tone for the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony, after a full year delay. That’s right, organizers call it “Tokyo 2020,” not “2021.” But it certainly isn’t the usual Olympic opener that fans expect. On July 23, the Olympic Stadium, which can hold 68,000 people, hosted members from 205 nations and The Refugee Olympic Team. Except seats remained empty as organizers prohibited some national delegates and media members from entering the arena.
The Tokyo organizers had already made several restrictions long before the ceremony began. Prior to the event, the Japanese government banned all foreign and domestic spectators from attending. Additionally, the Tokyo Games has budgeted almost 1 billion USD to COVID-19 preventative measures. But the restrictions don’t stop there. Each country had to select a smaller group of delegates to march in the highly celebrated Parade of Nations.
Tokyo allowed Liberia to have seven members. Also organizers encouraged each team to select a male and female flag bearer. Liberian officials selected new team members Joseph Fahnbulleh and Ebony Morrison (both sprinters). In addition to the duo, veteran Olympian Emmanuel Matadi, Liberian track coach Sayon Cooper, team doctor Alaric Diggs, fashion designer Telfar Clemens, and Filmmaker Terrence Nance joined.
“I was filled with so much pride and honor,” Morrison told Go Team Liberia. “It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. It was overwhelming. You see all the lights and all the people and all the diversity and all the love. It was an amazing experience.”
Liberia’s new Telfar Look
Long before the parade started, fireworks marked the beginning of the ceremony. Athletes, officials, and press felt the Opening Ceremony energy both inside and outside the stadium. Go Team Liberia’s media team was among the many press members who had limited access, but that did not stop the show. Liberians from all over the world celebrated at home and on social media.
This particular Ceremony has brought more attention to the country due to the support of famous Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens. He took this opportunity to give back to his homeland and designed about 70 pieces for the team, including the “sports gown” Opening Ceremony look. The New York Times reported that the performance line will also be a part of Clemens’ September fashion show. If you missed Liberia walking into the Olympic Stadium, check out the images below and don’t forget to watch Matadi, Morrison, and Fahnbulleh race for Liberia during the big Games.