The ceremony started at 11.30 a.m. GMT, and for those of us watching live, it was something akin to an early morning psychedelic trip that no one asked for. First, there were no spectators in the audience
due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And the isolation of the past year was, um, commemorated, by a video showing the athletes working out in their homes, followed by a performance in the stadium of a solo athlete running on a treadmill (see photo above). Then, instead of waving at what would have been 68,000 spectators, Olympians gave half-hearted waves to the 10,000 media workers, Olympics staffers, and a few key dignitaries, including the U.S. First Lady Jill Biden.