Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, drone display
Photo: Leon Neal/Getty ImagesThe drone display at the Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony

Watch: the drone formations that never made it into the Tokyo Olympics

Thought the rotating globe at the opening ceremony was impressive? Wait til you see these stunning rehearsal performances

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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You know it and we know it: that elaborate drone formation from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic opening ceremony is one people will be talking about for years. But what if we told you there was an even more extravagant spectacle that never made it into either the opening or closing ceremonies

Just a few days ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony, some lucky Tokyoites were able to glimpse a lengthy drone rehearsal sequence. Whether it was for the opening or the closing ceremony, we’ll never know, because most of the amazing patterns on display were never seen at either event. 

The formations featured splendid depictions of Miraitowa and Someity, the official Olympic and Paralympic mascots, who both moved and waved to onlookers, as well as the French flag in honour of Paris 2024. 

Whether it was due to technical complications, the fact that there weren’t any spectators allowed, or some other factor altogether, these incredible drone displays never made an appearance at either the opening or the closing ceremony. 

As for the sequence of Olympic pictograms, there’s no telling how many hours it took to make the figures move so seamlessly in the sky, but one can imagine how painstaking the undertaking was. Though this video was uploaded to the Tokyo 2020 YouTube channel on the day of the closing ceremony, residents in the area say the pictograms were part of the same July rehearsal, so they may have been intended for the opening ceremony. 

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Luckily, all is not lost as the formations are preserved in these videos, available for people from all over the world to revisit. Still, here’s hoping that we’ll get another special aerial show for the opening ceremony of the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic Games

More on the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

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