One of the most magical things about watching the Olympic opening ceremony is its pomp and fanfare.
It seems each host country tries to top the efforts of the previous ones.
And it's all to our benefit – it's truly entertaining to watch the crowds, the athletes and the performers.
There's the swell of pride when the Kiwi team walks out holding the flag.
So it saddens me that this year was different.
The Olympic Games have been cancelled three times since their modern inception in 1896 when they were held in Greece.
Berlin was meant to host in 1916, and later on, the 1940 and 1944 games were both canned, all because of world wars.
Last year it took a global pandemic to put paid to Tokyo 2020. When the postponement was announced, there didn't seem to be much outcry, people understood.
Events were being cancelled left, right and centre. People's lives were being flipped upside down, so the Olympics were just one more thing.
However, this year, organisers have forged grimly ahead despite a backlash. Protesters have been saying for a while now that it's not safe yet.
They're right – it's not. Japan is experiencing a surge in cases.
But I guess time is money, right?
Many of the stands will remain empty during competition, which begs the question – what's the point?
The obvious answer is what the Olympics originally stood for: Hope, unity, friendly competition, the chance for countries to pit their finest men and women against each other on the world stage in front of a global audience - but at what cost?
The estimated cost to Tokyo is now more than US$20 billion.
It's a phenomenal amount when you're unable to fill the stands or welcome the visitor dollar spinoffs as it was hoped.
And it can't be much fun for the athletes either – not like previous years when they were able to mix and mingle, meet fans and do their own sight-seeing on downtime.
The games' participants must follow strict protocols including producing two negative Covid-19 tests prior to landing in Japan and submitting to daily saliva tests and temperature checks.
They must wear masks and are encouraged to clap for their team-mates rather than cheer and yell.
They also must not take public transport and, while they're not competing, they must remain in their bubble in the Olympic village.
So, yes, this is a very different-looking Olympics.
And while debating the merits of going ahead with the Games are sure to keep armchair critics like me busy, the fact is the horse has bolted.
I just hope that everyone remains safe.