Take a Trip Down Memory Lane With the Olympic Opening Ceremonies Through the Years

As the Beijing Olympics officially kick off, E! News is looking back at some of the most OMG Opening Ceremony moments in history. From Naomi Osaka’s surprise appearance in Tokyo and beyond.

By Jess Cohen Feb 04, 2022 11:30 AMTags

Let the Games begin!

The 2022 Beijing Olympics are set to officially kick off on Friday, Feb. 4, with the Opening Ceremony. At the event, teams from around the globe will represent their countries as they prepare to compete.

While the ceremony comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and is likely to be more subdued given the health crisis, it's shaping up to be more meaningful than ever. Curling star John Shuster and speed skater Brittany Bowe will lead the U.S. team as flag bearers during the ceremony. Brittany actually stepped in after one of the official flag bearers, bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, tested positive for coronavirus and therefore cannot walk during the event.

While in years past only one person was selected for this role, the International Olympic Committee made a change during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to promote inclusivity. "With 49 percent female participation, Tokyo 2020 will be the first gender-equal Olympic Games ever," the committee previously shared. "For the first time, there will be at least one female and one male athlete in each of the teams participating in the Games."

Basketball star Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez did the honors in Tokyo.

Relive the Top Viral Olympics Moments

As we await Beijing's big kick-off, E! News is looking back at some of the most memorable Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Take a look at the gallery below to revisit Etta JamesCeline DionPaul McCartney and The Chicks' performances at the event over the years, as well as more OMG moments!

1908 Olympics in London
The U.S. Olympic Team, 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles
1932 Olympics in Los Angeles
Yoshinori Sakai, 1964 Olympics in Tokyo
1968 Olympics in Mexico
Team USA, 1972 Olympics in Munich
1976 Olympics in Montreal
1980 Olympics in Moscow
Etta James, 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles
1984 Olympics in Los Angeles
1992 Olympics in Barcelona
Celine Dion, 1996 Olympics in Atlanta
Cathy Freeman of Australia, 2000 Olympics in Sydney
Nikki Webster, 2000 Olympics in Sydney
The Dixie Chicks, 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City
2004 Olympics in Athens
Dancers Perform at 2008 Olympics in Beijing
Paul McCartney, 2012 Olympics in London
Queen Elizabeth II Performer Parachutes Into 2012 Olympics in London
2012 Olympics in London
Michael Phelps, 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
Naomi Osaka Surprises the Crowd at 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Tennis star Naomi Osaka aced her role during the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony by lighting the Olympic Cauldron at the end of the event, surprising viewers around the world.

Tonga's Pita Taufatofua Becomes Internet Sensation

Tonga's Pita Taufatofua returned to the 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony to represent his country—and ended up causing a social media frenzy over his oiled-up appearance.

Check out E! News' 2022 Beijing Olympics homepage for news, photos and more.