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MARIA Taylor made a surprise NBC debut from Tokyo just days after leaving ESPN — and viewers of the Olympics Opening Ceremony were baffled by Ralph Lauren & Armani outfits.

The former ESPN host, who left the network despite a $3million offer to stay on after Rachel Nichols’ controversial hot mic comments, will host NBC’s late-night Olympic coverage.

However, Taylor’s debut wasn’t the only surprising thing to come out of the opening ceremony broadcast.

The Team USA Olympics apparel, designed by Ralph Lauren, were blasted as “preppy” and “pretentious” by online critics and Team Italy’s Giorgio Armani-designed outfits were dubbed the “worst” of the ceremony.

After the Tokyo Olympics being delayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Olympics returned to Tokyo – and to NBC – for the world to watch.

Because Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the east coast, the Opening Ceremony started in Japan at 8pm, which is 7am EST.

The highly anticipated Olympic Opening Ceremony also started airing on Friday night at 7:30pm EST.

The Olympic’s opening ceremony took place at the Olympic Stadium in Shinjuku City, Tokyo.

Read our Tokyo Olympics 2021 live blog below for the very latest news and updates…

  • NAOMI OSAKA LIT THE OLYMPIC FLAME

    The Olympic flame was lit by tennis ace Naomi Osaka to bring down the curtain on a four-hour opening ceremony
    The Olympic flame was lit by tennis ace Naomi Osaka to bring down the curtain on a four-hour opening ceremonyCredit: AFP
  • AN INCREDIBLE SIGHT

    Nearly 2,000 drones took to the sky to perfectly form a globe late on in an incredible opening ceremony for the 2020 Olympics
    Nearly 2,000 drones took to the sky to perfectly form a globe late on in an incredible opening ceremony for the 2020 OlympicsCredit: Getty

  • ‘PREPPY’ AND ‘PRETENTIOUS’

    The Team USA Olympics outfits debuted at the Opening Ceremony on Friday have been blasted as “preppy” and “pretentious” by online critics – who slammed designers Ralph Lauren.

    The storied American fashion house outfitting the nation’s best athletes for the postponed 2020 Olympics called the style an “all-American look” with jeans, a blue blazer, white sneakers and a subtle star-spangled handkerchief.

  • WHAT DID EX ESPN HOST MARIA TAYLOR SAY ABOUT HER NBC SPORTS DEBUT?

    “Incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work with Pete, Molly, Sam, Fred, and the entire NBC Sports family,” Taylor said, according to an NBC Sports Group press release.

    “Literally, hosting the Olympics, Football Night in America, and the Super Bowl is what I dreamed of when I started in television – and this would not be possible without standing on the shoulders of all of those who came before me and made this path possible. And I plan to pay it forward.”

  • MARIA TAYLOR’S ‘OLYMPIC DREAM COME TRUE’

  • MARIA TAYLOR’S NBC SPORTS APPEARANCE

    Olympic host Mike Tirico welcomed Maria Taylor by saying: “We are thrilled to welcome a new member to our NBC sports and Olympic family: Maria Taylor.

    “Maria, welcome to Tokyo and the team.”

  • STREAMING ON VARIOUS NBC PLATFORMS

    Olympic sports will be available to stream on various NBC platforms, and the gymnastics event will likely be taped and repackaged to air that evening in primetime.

    • Women’s Qualifying: Sunday, July 25, at 2:10am ET. The top eight teams will go on to compete in the Team Finals. Next, the top 24 gymnasts will advance to the individual all-around finals. Then, the top eight gymnasts on each apparatus will advance to the apparatus finals.
    • Women’s Team Finals: Tuesday, July 27, at 6:45am ET. As a collective whole, Team USA will be looking to clinch their third straight Olympic gold.
    • Women’s Individual All-Around Finals: Thursday, July 29, at 6:50am ET.
    • Women’s Vault and Uneven Bars Finals: Sunday, August 1, at 4am ET.
    • Women’s Floor Exercise Finals: Monday, August 2, at 4am ET.
    • Women’s Balance Beam Finals: Tuesday, August 3, at 4am ET.
  • TEAM TOKYO’S ‘GRAND ENTRANCE’

  • EXPLOSIVE OPENING CERMONY

    The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have officially been launched after an explosive opening ceremony – which included over 1,800 drones flying in unison to form a spectacular, illuminated globe.

    Having been delayed by year due to the coronavirus pandemic, expectations were high for the show-stopping event.

    The Tokyo skyline was illuminated by fireworks after the Olympic flame was delivered to the Japanese capital.

    At one stage, nearly 2,000 DRONES soared to the sky to create a glittering globe – with many quick to call it ‘the enduring image of these Games’ already.

  • THOUSANDS OF DRONES IN THE SKY

  • ‘THE OLYMPIC FLAG IS UP!’

  • THE ROCK INTRODUCES TEAM USA

  • WHAT DID THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT SAY?

    IOC boss Thomas Bach claimed the troubled Olympics would shine a ‘light at the end of this dark tunnel’ for the rest of the world – with 11,000 athletes converging from around the world to compete.

    Bach claimed: “Today, the Olympic athletes are sending a resounding message of hope to our fragile world.

    “The Opening Ceremony will highlight this Olympic message of resilience, solidarity and unity of all humankind in overcoming the pandemic.

  • MARIA TAYLOR’S NBC SPORTS APPEARANCE

    Olympic host Mike Tirico welcomed Maria Taylor by saying: “We are thrilled to welcome a new member to our NBC sports and Olympic family: Maria Taylor.

    “Maria, welcome to Tokyo and the team.”

  • JILL BIDEN’S LETTER TO TEAM USA

  • MARIA TAYLOR’S ‘OLYMPIC DREAM COME TRUE’

  • STREAMING ON VARIOUS NBC PLATFORMS

    Olympic sports will be available to stream on various NBC platforms, and the gymnastics event will likely be taped and repackaged to air that evening in primetime.

    • Women’s Qualifying: Sunday, July 25, at 2:10am ET. The top eight teams will go on to compete in the Team Finals. Next, the top 24 gymnasts will advance to the individual all-around finals. Then, the top eight gymnasts on each apparatus will advance to the apparatus finals.
    • Women’s Team Finals: Tuesday, July 27, at 6:45am ET. As a collective whole, Team USA will be looking to clinch their third straight Olympic gold.
    • Women’s Individual All-Around Finals: Thursday, July 29, at 6:50am ET.
    • Women’s Vault and Uneven Bars Finals: Sunday, August 1, at 4am ET.
    • Women’s Floor Exercise Finals: Monday, August 2, at 4am ET.
    • Women’s Balance Beam Finals: Tuesday, August 3, at 4am ET.
  • UZBEKISTAN’S OKSANA CHUSOVITINA IS AT HER EIGHTH OLYMPIC GAMES

  • TEAM ITALY’S OUTFITS DUBBED ‘THE WORST’

    The white tracksuits, designed by Georgio Armani, turned heads at the opening ceremony.

    Yahoo! Sports slammed the outfit for looking like an “Italian flag ate Pac-Man and then got violently ill all over a white shirt.”

  • ‘PREPPY’ AND ‘PRETENTIOUS’

    The Team USA Olympics outfits debuted at the Opening Ceremony on Friday have been blasted as “preppy” and “pretentious” by online critics – who slammed designers Ralph Lauren.

    The storied American fashion house outfitting the nation’s best athletes for the postponed 2020 Olympics called the style an “all-American look” with jeans, a blue blazer, white sneakers and a subtle star-spangled handkerchief.

  • SIMONE BILES AND SQUAD DO NOT WALK WITH TEAM USA

    Simone Biles and the rest of the Team USA gymnastics squad did not walk in the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

    The women’s gym team opted not to walk because it is “focused on preparation”, Meredith Yeoman, a spokeswoman for USA Gymnastics, told the New York Times.

  • THE OFFICAL START

    The 2020 Tokyo Olympics officially started on July 23, 2021.

    You can find the full schedule for Olympics Games here, but note all times are BST.

  • TONGA’S RETURN

  • WHICH COUNTRY HAS THE YOUNGEST ATHLETE?

  • TEAM ITALY ARRIVES AT THE STADUM

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