The Japanese Emperor Naruhito started it all again under the theme "We have Wings". Douglas Emhoff, the husband of U.S. Vice president Kamala Harris and Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee, and Thomas Bach, International Olympic President, were also present.
The opening ceremony was circus-like, with clowns, acrobats and vibrant music atop the stadium. This marked the beginning of the long parade.
Parsons stated in his opening remarks, "I can't believe we're finally here." Many people doubted that this day would come. Many believed it impossible. The most transformative sporting event on Earth is now possible thanks to the hard work of many.
The 162 representatives of 162 countries were represented at the opening ceremony. This included the refugee group. The flag of Afghanistan was also carried by a volunteer, despite not being present in Tokyo.
The Olympics are compared to the colorful jamboree. This is minus the logistical and medical obstacles during the pandemic and the hollowing of nearly everything else.
Tokyo Paralympic organizers and Tokyo are under increasing pressure due to the soaring number of new infections in the capital. Around 40% of Japan's population are fully vaccinated. Since the Olympics began on July 23, there have been an average of four to five new cases per day in Tokyo. Tokyo is currently under emergency until Sept. 12, and the Paralympics will end Sept. 5.
On Tuesday, organizers announced that the Paralympic Village had received the first positive test. The organizers did not give any details but said that the athlete was isolated.
The Paralympics are being held without fans, although organizers are planning to let some school children attend, going against the advice of much of the medical community.
President of the Tokyo organizing board, Seiko Hashimoto and Parsons, both claim that the Paralympics will be safe. Both tried to distance the Paralympics from Tokyo's increasing infection rate.
Parsons stated to The Associated Press that "for the moment, we don't see any correlation between having Paralympics Tokyo with the increasing number of cases from Tokyo and Japan."
Experts in medicine believe that even though there is no direct connection, the Paralympics and Olympics promoted a false sense security, which could have led to people letting down their guard and spreading the virus.
Paralympics is about athletic prowess. Paralympics is a term that refers to an event that runs alongside the Olympics.
Markus Rehm, also known as "Blade Jumper", was injured in a wakeboarding accident at 14 and lost his right leg below the knee. However, Markus jumped 8.62m earlier this year, which would have won him the Tokyo Games, seven Olympics, and the Tokyo Games. Tokyo's long jump record was 8.41 meters.
Craig Spence, spokesperson for the International Paralympic Committee stated that "the stigma attached to disability changes once you watch the sport." "These games will change the way you view disability.
Spence said, "If you take a look around Japan you'll see very few persons with disabilities walking on the streets." "We need to move beyond protecting people and empower people, creating opportunities for people with disabilities to thrive in society."
Matt Stutzman, an archer, was born without arms and stumps at his shoulders. He holds the world record for the longest and most precise shot at any archer -- disabled or not -- hitting a target at 310 meters or approximately 283 metres.
Bebe Vivo, a wheelchair fencer, contracted meningitis when she was a child. To save her life doctors had to amputate both her forearms as well as both her legs at her knees.
Vivo stated in a recent interview that many people had told him it was impossible to fence without using his hands. "It didn't matter if your hands or legs aren't there, so it was important for me to show and demonstrate to people that it doesn’t matter what. If you truly believe you can achieve your dream, then go for it.
Stutzman and Vivo are both set to compete in Tokyo and have already won medals in previous games, superstars who told their stories last year in the Netflix documentary about the Paralympics called "Rising Phoenix."
The remaining 4,403 Paralympic Paralympic athletes from Tokyo, a record for any Paralympics, will tell their stories up until the closing ceremony.
Husnah Kukundakwe (14 years old) said that she feels like she is meeting movie stars.
She admitted to being self-conscious as an adolescent. This was due in part to a congenital disability that left her with no lower left arm and her left hand slightly misaligned.
She said, "Since it is the Paralympics, and everyone else is disabled," she added. "In Uganda, very few people with disabilities want to be themselves," she said.
Paralympic organizers played a part last week in launching "WeThe15," a human-rights campaign aimed at 1.2 billion people -- 15% of the global population -- with disabilities. They've also produced a 90-second video to promote the cause of social inclusion.
Parsons stated, in a largely empty stadium, that "difference is strength, not weakness." "And as we rebuild better in the post-pandemic environment, it must include societies that offer opportunities for all."
Shingo Katori, who was a member the boy band SMAP, which had its roots back in 1980s, now works for Paralympic organizers. He admitted to his fears about working with people with disabilities in the beginning.
He said, "Frankly speaking people in wheelchairs and people with artificial legs -- I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet them and I didn’t know how to talk with them." Paralympic sports made such hesitation disappear.
Stutzman is known as the "Armless Archer" and has a disarming sense humor. He jokes about his childhood desire to be like Michael Jordan, former NBA star.
He mumbles, "I gave up," "I wasn’t tall enough."