The best part of the Rio Olympics closing ceremony was the 2020 Tokyo teaser

Aiming to deliver.
Aiming to deliver.
Image: EPA/Michael Reynolds
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Japan will be the next country to host the Summer Olympics. If its performance at the closing ceremony at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro was any indication, it’s going to put on quite a show.

The closing ceremony included a Tokyo 2020 handover presentation. For that, Japan started with a video in which prime minister Shinzo Abe catches a red ball symbolizing the nation’s flag. Abe’s job is to get the ball from Tokyo to the handover in Rio, but he’s running late. So, naturally, he transforms into Nintendo’s Mario—from the Super Mario video game series—darts into a pipe with some assistance from manga character Doraemon, and drills his way through the planet to Rio.

Then, back in the real-life ceremony at Maracana Stadium, video game sound effects played as Abe emerged from a pipe prop dressed like Mario, holding a red glowing ball.

Of course there was much more to the ceremony—elaborate dances, athletes waving flags, the extinguishing of the flame—but with its creative segment Japan managed to surprise and delight the audience. Here’s hoping it does the same with the 2020 Summer Olympics.