The 2016 Rio Olympics have come to a close, bringing many special moments for competing athletes and spectators from around the world. Four years from now, the city of Tokyo is set to host, and who better to represent Japan at the closing ceremony other than the Japanese prime minister dressed as Mario?

Despite rumors of problems with infrastructure and general unpreparedness prior to the beginning of these Olympics, everything went well in Rio, as the United States dominated again by winning a total of 121 medals, followed by China, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, Italy, Canada and South Korea. The closing ceremony, which took place last night, was about as spectacular and Brazilian as can be. It was carnival-themed with a lot of fireworks, music and dancing, and as with all Olympics, there was the handing over of the Olympic flag to the next host nation and a showcase of what will be offered. And what is it that Japan has to offer to the world?

Of course, there's all the hi-tech stuff, but Japan is, after all, also known for Super Mario, Doraemon, Hello Kitty and others. So when a video during the ceremony showed an animated Mario jumping down a pipe in Tokyo and getting transported to Rio, spectators watching around the world knew something was going to happen, but no one knew what. Much to everyone's surprise, a man in Mario cosplay emerged from the pipe at Maracanã Stadium, and the man was Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, himself! It did look like he was in a rush to take off the costume, but at least he agreed to doing it. Sure, it would have been cooler if he had the signature mustache, and if he stayed in character, but I understand. If you're the prime minister of Japan, you probably have to act somewhat serious, especially when the whole world is watching.

All in all, it was a great Olympics, and congratulations to all those who competed. Win or lose, representing your country in the Olympic Games is an amazing achievement. The Paralympic athletes are up next, so there will be plenty more inspiring stories unfolding. And after that, it's the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. That should be a fun Olympic Games again for all. Until then, we'll have to do with Prime Minister Super Mario.


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Starring Kim So Hyun and Ok Taec Yeon

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