RIO DE JANEIRO – BRAZIL. With athletes and viewers exhausted, the closing ceremony for Rio2016 was passing off as expected.
Until Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe popped out of a giant green pipe dressed up as video game character Super Mario, one of Japan’s best-known exports.
It was then the world got a clue that, for Tokyo2020, the next Olympic hosts would take full and shameless advantage of Japan’s pop culture icons.
The Tokyo2020 video beamed to audiences in Rio showed Mario running excitedly around Tokyo then jumping into his famous green pipe.
Cue the slow rise of the green pipe in Rio with a hunched Mario-like figure perched on top.
Japan’s Prime Minister, not famous for his extrovert displays and pop culture references, emerges dressed as Super Mario and doffs his hat to enthusiastic crowds, then setting social media alight.
“That was the prime minister of Japan dressed up as Mario, emerging from a pipe.What a world we live in,” @raittgun twitted.
Some were quick to point out that Mr Abe was clearly the star of the show, overshadowing Tokyo’s newly-elected mayor, Yuriko Koike, who was in attendance waving the Olympic flag and dressed in a kimono.
“Laughing so hard as Yuriko in expensive kimono which was ruined by the rain received the Olympic flag but outdone by Abe’s cheap Mario hat,” said a tweet.
The parade ended with Mr Abe holding aloft a now glowing red ball, Japan’s rising sun.- bbc