Watch Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister, Play Mario At Rio's Closing Ceremony — VIDEO
Viewers expected the organizers of the Rio Olympics Closing Ceremony to have some surprises in store for us, and they certainly did not disappoint. While many awesome performances wowed crowds in Rio and all around the world, it was the moment when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe posed as Mario at the Closing Ceremony, dressed as the famous character that really captures the hearts of audiences. You can watch Japan's prime minister emerge from a Super Mario pipe via NBC's video of the spectacle, which is a surefire way to get you pumped up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The video began with an illustration of the world, which showed Rio on one end of the globe and Tokyo, which is about 11,500 miles away, on the other. The illustration also showed a warp pipe entrance at either end of the globe, foreshadowing what's to come. Mario was shown in Tokyo, and was thrown the red ball (which symbolizes the games in Japan), which he catches and jumps into the tube. And then, in probably the most awesome twist of the night, the Japanese Prime Minister popped out of the tube in a Mario costume in the Maracanã Stadium where the Closing Ceremony was being held. It was truly a sight to behold.
It's clear that Prime Minister Abe is excited that his country is going to host the 2020 Olympics, but Tokyo 2020 has already had its fair share of drama since the International Olympics Committee announced that Tokyo would host the next summer Olympics back in 2013. While the decision was initially lauded for Tokyo's seemingly pared-down expenditure budget of eight billion dollars (as opposed to Istanbul, their nearest competitor for Olympic host, which floated a $19 billion dollar budget), some wondered if radiation from 2011's Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster after an earthquake in the same region might disrupt or even harm visitors to Tokyo for the 2020 games.
Tokyo, like every city that hosts the Olympics, has its fair share of scandals. It's easy to get caught up in the hearsay about a future event, but it's equally important to remember that despite the incredible amount of problems Brazil faced leading up to the Rio Olympics — including their president's impending impeachment trial, which was announced during the games themselves — the Rio Olympics mostly went off without a hitch. That being said, Tokyo will certainly bring their own brand of entertainment to the 2020 Olympics.