Audiences of the closing ceremony of Rio Olympics 2016 were shocked when Japan Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, popped out of a giant green pipe in a completely new avatar. He was dressed up as the video game character Super Mario and he waved a plumber's hat at the cheering crowd.
The next edition of the Summer Games will be hosted next in Japan in 2020 and the little cameo of the country's prime minister made it clear that pop culture icons of Japan will play a major role in the quadrennial event.
Super Mario is the protagonist from the hugely popular Mario video game. The Nintendo created franchise became the world's biggest selling video game franchise of all time. In the show, Mario appeared running around Tokyo before jumping in a green pipe and then drilling his way through the earth all the way to the Maracana stadium where a similar green pipe rose with a life-size Mario standing on it.
The figure quickly shed off his costume and PM Abe came out smiling waving the trademark plumber hat of Mario at the cheering crowd and holding a glowing red ball.
The ceremony ended with the mayor of Rio de Janeiro giving the Olympic flag to the International Olympic Committee, who handed it over to the Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike.