Speed Reads

Opening ceremony

The Olympics wanted to promote gender equality with shared flag bearers. It got awkward.

The Tokyo Summer Olympics are the "first-ever gender-balanced Olympic Games in history," part of a push by the IOC to promote equality between male and female athletes. That push extended to the Opening Ceremony on Friday, where a rule change allowed countries to select both a male and a female flag bearer to share the honor of carrying their nation's colors into the mostly empty Olympic stadium.

But what sounds like a great idea on paper isn't always a great idea in practice. It turns out trying to carry and wave a giant flag together is about as awkward as sharing an umbrella:

The Malaysian flag bearers did pretty well…

...while Tonga's flag bearers had an interesting technique.

Across the 205 countries at the games, there were a variety of different strategies on display, some more successful than others:

The rule change admittedly did result in some pretty powerful moments, though. For several countries, including China and Mongolia, it meant having a woman carry their flag during the Parade of Nations for the first time.

Still … couldn't they have each had their own flag?