Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe almost didn’t make it to the Rio Olympics’ closing ceremony. Luckily, he had a solution — thanks to Nintendo. He slid down a green pipe into the arena dressed as the famous character, Super Mario. Well, he had on the character’s famous red hat and blue overalls. Although, he plumber’s uniform was soon replaced with a business suit that he was wearing underneath.
“The Japanese government will strive hard so you can participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics so you will be in your best condition, and work hard so it will be the best Olympics ever,” said Abe said at Japan House in Rio. “Please share your efforts on how you overcame your challenges. Please share your experiences that only you who participated in the Olympics can share.”
At the closing of the ceremony, Japan walked away with a total of 12 gold metals for wrestling, judo, gymnastics, swimming and badminton.
With that, Prime Minister Abe also added that the athletes around the world are continuously inspiring Japanese athletes as well. “Your news will encourage the Japanese people who are striving hard to achieve their dreams. I’m sure your news will be a great encouragement for our case in the 2020 Olympics,” he said to the crowd.
Super Mario is one of the most widely recognizable figures. The character starred in the 1985 video game, Super Mario Bros., and became one of the most iconic figures in video games as well as the face of its game developer, Nintendo. In the next 31 years, Super Mario turned into a franchise, complete with dozens of games for player’s to follow Super Mario’s adventures including the incredibly popular 1990 game, Super Mario World. (Mario’s brother and sidekick, Luigi, also got a few video games with his name on the cover as well such as 2001’s Luigi’s Mansion.)
The next Summer Olympics in 2020 will take place in Tokyo, Japan. Typically at the end of the closing ceremonies, viewers get a taste of what’s to come in the next four years to get them excited about the continuation of Olympic games. And social media is any indicator, it would appear that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe succeeded since his “super” move already has social media users buzzing about the 2020 games. “Ima let you finish but Shinzo Abe had the best entrance of all time,” read one tweet with a clip of the event. “Shinzo Abe just popped out of a Mario tube at the Rio Olympics. What a time to be alive,” read another tweet.
Deadspin also reported that Pac-Man and popular anime characters were in attendance for the closing ceremony. If the 2020 Olympics are anything like the preview, Tokyo will have a plethora of characters to chose from with the advent of Japanese manga and anime. Not only are there characters from the popular magical girl series, Sailor Moon, there’s also ones to pull from the shounen hit, Dragon Ball Z. On top of that, there’s other popular anime series including Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Attack on Titan, Cowboy Bebop and Death Note that have distinctive characters known to fans of the genre.
But fans will have to wait another four years to see what Tokyo has in store. But one thing is for sure — baseball and softball will be returning as sports for athletes to win gold, silver and bronze medals in since it was eliminated after the 2008 games. Four more years it is.
“See you in Tokyo,” read the banner that lay on the floor at the end of the ceremony.
Watch Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pop out from the famous green tube here.
[Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images]