Take a Trip Down Memory Lane With the Olympic Opening Ceremonies Through the Years


As the Tokyo Olympics officially kicks off, E! News is looking back at some of the most memorable Opening Ceremonies in history. Read on for a trip down Olympics lane.

Laurie Hernandez Recalls Winning Olympic Gold in 2016

Let the Games begin!

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are set to officially kick off on Friday, July 23, with the Opening Ceremony. At the event, teams from around the globe will represent their countries as they prepare to compete.

This historic ceremony will be the first major global gathering amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And although this year’s Opening Ceremony is likely to be more subdued given the health crisis, it’s shaping up to be more meaningful than ever. In fact, basketball star Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez will lead the U.S. team as flag bearers during the ceremony. While in years past only one person has been selected for this role, the International Olympic Committee made a change to promote inclusivity. 

“With 49 percent female participation, Tokyo 2020 will be the first gender-equal Olympic Games ever,” the committee said in a May statement. “For the first time, there will be at least one female and one male athlete in each of the teams participating in the Games.”

As we await Tokyo’s big kick-off, E! News is looking back at some of the most memorable Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Take a look at the gallery below to revisit Etta JamesCeline DionPaul McCartney and The Chicks‘ performances at the event over the years!

Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

1908 Olympics in London

B Bennett/Getty Images

The U.S. Olympic Team, 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles

Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

1932 Olympics in Los Angeles

Keystone/Getty Images

Yoshinori Sakai, 1964 Olympics in Tokyo

Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

1968 Olympics in Mexico

Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Team USA, 1972 Olympics in Munich

nik wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images

1976 Olympics in Montreal

Jerry Cooke/Corbis via Getty Images

1980 Olympics in Moscow

S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

Etta James, 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles

Kit Houghton/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

1984 Olympics in Los Angeles

Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

1992 Olympics in Barcelona

Seguin/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Celine Dion, 1996 Olympics in Atlanta

Billy Stickland /Allsport

Cathy Freeman of Australia, 2000 Olympics in Sydney

Adam Pretty /Allsport

Nikki Webster, 2000 Olympics in Sydney

Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images

The Dixie Chicks, 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City

Don EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

2004 Olympics in Athens

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Dancers Perform at 2008 Olympics in Beijing

Pool/Getty Images

Paul McCartney, 2012 Olympics in London

Lars Baron/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II Performer Parachutes Into 2012 Olympics in London

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

2012 Olympics in London

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Michael Phelps, 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony airs Friday, July 23 on NBC.