Let the games begin!

The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are scheduled to officially begin on Friday, July 23, with the opening ceremony. At the event, teams from around the world will represent their countries as they prepare for the competition.

This historic ceremony will be the first major global gathering amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And while this year’s opening ceremony is likely to be more subdued given the health crisis, it is proving more meaningful than ever. Indeed, basketball star Sue Bird and baseball players Eddy Alvarez will lead the US team as the standard bearer during the ceremony. While only one person has been selected for this role in recent years, the International Olympic Committee has made a change to encourage inclusivity.

“With 49 percent participation from women, Tokyo 2020 will be the first ever Olympic Games for women and men,” the committee said in a May statement. “For the first time, there will be at least one female and male athlete in each of the teams taking part in the games.”