Tokyo 2020 announces Torchbearer application opportunities and unveils uniform

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has announced that applications to become one of the around 10,000 torchbearers on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay will open in June 2019. The process will be open to people from a wide range of ages and abilities residing both in Japan and abroad.

Picture by Christopher Jue/Getty Images

In line with the Relay’s vision of “Hope Lights Out Way”, preference will be given to those who embody one of the following: Those who provide essential, daily support for family, friends and colleagues or who have overcome great adversity; those who are accepting of different backgrounds and who have led initiatives to welcome newcomers into their local community; and people who have generated a sense of togetherness in their community.

Applicants must be born on or before 1 April 2008; the consent of a parent or guardian will be required for those who will be aged 17 or under on 1 March 2020. Members of the public can submit up to five applications via the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners and/or through any local prefecture where they have a personal or family connection. 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners are Coca-Cola Japan, Toyota, Nippon Life and NTT Communications. Coca-Cola Japan will start accepting applications on 17 June, while Toyota, Nippon Life and NTT will begin accepting applications from 24 June. Each of the 47 prefectures in Japan that are collaborating with Tokyo 2020 has set up its own Olympic Torch Relay Taskforce. Applications to prefectures can be made from 1 July.

Announcement of the successful applicants will be made after December 2019. 

Guidelines for those wishing to apply to participate as torchbearers are available on Tokyo 2020’s official website.

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The design of the uniform to be worn by torchbearers on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay was also launched today. It will incorporate elements of Japanese traditions and be based on the concept of ‘Hope Lights Our Way’.

The uniform will feature the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay emblem on the front and the Olympic symbol on the back, connected by the Games’ ichimatsu moyo chequered pattern representing different countries, cultures and ways of thinking. It will incorporate a diagonally-draped sash of the type used in place of batons in Ekiden, Japan’s famous long-distance relays. As well as introducing an element of Japanese tradition, the design embodies respect for the Olympic Torch Relay and aspirations for the success of the Games. 

Thanks to the efforts of Coca-Cola Japan in the collection and recycling of plastic bottles, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay uniform will be produced in part using recycled materials. 

Uniform designer Daisuke Obana, commented, “I have interpreted the Olympic Torch Relay as being something that connects torchbearers and their thoughts; in other words, everyone who will participate in the Torch Relay having various thoughts—including about the Games— and the Flame connecting those thoughts. In Japan, these Games are being referred to as ‘the Recovery Games’ and so the Olympic flame will start its journey from an area affected by recent natural disasters. I hope that the Olympic flame that is transported to Japan will bring with it the encouragement and thoughts of people from all over the world. The uniform includes a diagonal sash with a design based on a Japanese traditional motif that is often deployed in Ekiden, Japan’s famous long-distance relays; its origins date back to ancient times, and it will play a major role as “a link that connects the world and people's thoughts.” 

The presenting partners of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay are Coca-Cola Japan, Toyota, Nippon Life and NTT Communications.