TOKYO: The Blue Impulse aerobatic team from Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force drew the five Olympic rings with colored smoke in the sky above an area near the new Japan National Stadium on early Friday afternoon, ahead of the official opening of the Tokyo Olympics later in the day.
The Olympic symbol was drawn in the same five colors as those of the rings–blue, yellow, black, green and red.
After departing from the ASDF Iruma Air Base in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, at 12:20 p.m. (3:20 a.m. GMT), six Blue Impulse planes traveled around the Tokyo metropolitan government buildings around 12:40 p.m. and then flew near 333-meter Tokyo Tower and the 634-meter Tokyo Skytree broadcasting tower.
The six planes came to an area near the national stadium in Shinjuku Ward in the Japanese capital at 12:48 p.m. A crowd of people burst into applause as five of them drew the Olympic rings. But part of the rings blurred, blown by winds.
“I couldn’t see the Olympic rings well because of clouds and winds,” Mari Sakakida, 54, from Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, said. “But I was happy to see them live, feeling that the Olympics has come,” she added.
After the flight, ASDF Lt. Col. Yuki Ento said: “I now feel a great sense of fulfillment as we accomplished the mission safely. I want to express my gratitude to a lot of people.”
The National Stadium is the venue for the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, to be held Friday night.
The ASDF aerobatic team drew the Olympic rings above the former national stadium at the opening ceremony for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
It plans to carry out a similar flight performance on the opening day of the Tokyo Paralympics on Aug. 24.