It’s official: The 2016 Olympics are over, and it’s time to look east toward Tokyo.
Sunday night marked the final day of the summer gamesin Rio, when the official International Olympic Committee flag was passed off to Japan during a spectacular closing ceremony performance.
But the real hero of the night was a plumber who traveled a very long way.
During the “Love Sport Tokyo 2020” segment of the show, Nintendo’s Mario was shown on screen jumping into one of his green pipes, before popping out at Rio’s Maracena Stadium as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
— MATTS (@MATTSMATTS) August 22, 2016
Paying homage to his country’s best-known export, Abe donned an oversized pair of overalls and Mario’s bright red cap as he waved to Rio’s cheering crowds. Instead of toting a turtle shell, that red orb he carried symbolizes Japan’s rising sun.
It looks like Tokyo is more than ready to take on the summer games.
Nintendo isn’t a sponsor and won’t be involved in Tokyo 2020,Nintendo spokesman Yasuhiko Minagawa told CNN. And the idea to put Mario on stage came from the Tokyo organizing committee.
Still, we can’t wait to see what other pop-culture icons Tokyo features.