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Richmond's Nate Hirayama leads Team Canada at Olympics' opening ceremony

Hirayama was joined by Canadian basketball player Miranda Ayim at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

Before most of us had our breakfasts this morning, Richmond’s Nate Hirayama was flying the flag for Team Canada at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.

Rugby sevens star Hirayama carried the Maple Leaf into Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium at 7 a.m. (Pacific) alongside basketball player Miranda Ayim.

It was the first time that athletes from team sports have been chosen as Canada’s opening ceremony flag bearers.

As part of the show, 1,824 drones lit the night sky in the form of a globe as the Suginami Junior Chorus started singing “Imagine” by John Lennon.

They were then joined by Grammy award winners Angélique Kidjo (Africa), Alejandro Sanz (Europe), John Legend (Americas), and Keith Urban (Oceania).

At the end of the somewhat muted ceremony – given there was no crowd due to Tokyo being in a COVID state of emergency – the Olympic flame was ignited by Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, who “climbed” to the top of a mountain inspired by Mount Fuji.

The sphere at the top then opened like a flower and the Olympic cauldron was lit to mark the official start of the delayed 2020 Games, even though competition actually began on Wednesday.

As well as Hirayama, Richmond has five other residents competing at the Games:

Evan Dunfee (50K racewalk);

Eli Schenkel (fencing);

Shaul Gordon (fencing);

Camryn Rogers (hammer);

Mo Zhang (table tennis).