The Olympic flame for Tokyo 2020 was lit on 12 March 2020 at Olympia in Greece, and arrived in Japan a few days later. The flame remained on Japanese soil since it was announced that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would be postponed to 2021. The Relay continued its journey on 25 March 2021 from Fukushima Prefecture, and travelled to the 47 prefectures of Japan over 112 days. The flame arrived in Tokyo on 9 July, and will be used to light the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium during the Games Opening Ceremony on 23 July.
As 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the Relay aimed to showcase the recovery of the areas worst affected by the disaster. It also symbolised a beacon of hope for the world in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Games, themselves a symbol of the resilience, unity and solidarity of humankind.
The torch is 71 centimetres long, and its design and colour recall the blossom of a cherry tree, an emblematic tree in Japan. This blossom has also inspired the shape of the torch, with its five cylinders. Flames are generated in each “petal” and are united in the centre of the torch. Each torch is made of a single seamless piece of aluminium. Around 30 per cent of the aluminium used is recycled waste from the temporary housing built in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The weight of the torch was calculated to ensure that every torchbearer can carry it easily. It also features a position mark to help visually impaired torchbearers identify the front of the torch.
The mascot for the Tokyo Games is called Miraitowa. The name is derived from two Japanese words: mirai (meaning future) and towa (meaning eternity). Miraitowa has the same chequered blue motif as the Tokyo 2020 Games emblem on its head and body. Between December 2017 and February 2018, primary schools in Japan took part in an Olympic and Paralympic mascot selection process and voted for their favourite designs.
The mascot for the 2022 Games in Beijing is called Bing Dwen Dwen. Bing (冰) is the Chinese character for ice, and Dwen Dwen (墩墩) is a Chinese moniker for children. Bing Dwen Dwen is a panda wearing an ice suit, which represents purity and strength. The heart on its left paw symbolises Chinese hospitality. The bright colours of the halo around its face represent ice and snow sport tracks, and the rings recall the shape of the National Speed Skating Oval. Resembling an astronaut, the mascot also illustrates the importance of new technologies for Beijing 2022.
On the reverse, the lines surrounding the emblem of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 collect and reflect myriad patterns of light, symbolising the energy of the athletes and those who support them. The design is intended to symbolise diversity and the constant efforts of athletes striving for victory. The medals resemble rough stones that have been polished and which now shine with light and warmth, evoking the friendship created between the peoples of the world.
For its part, the medal ribbon features traditional Japanese design motifs in a modern presentation. Silicone convex lines are applied on the surface of the ribbon so it is possible to recognise the type of medal by simply touching it.
The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus led the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese government to agree to postpone the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games by one year, and select new dates: the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021 and the Paralympic Games from 24 August to 5 September 2021.
Postponing the Games represents an enormous challenge for the Olympic Movement and all its partners. It will require numerous discussions between the various stakeholders on issues that are key for the proper holding of the Games: making sure that the competition and non-competition venues are available, the athlete qualification process, ticketing, the Olympic flame and torch relay, agreements with sponsors, TOP partners, Olympic broadcasters, etc. To address all these issues, a task force entitled “Here we go” was created under the aegis of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.
For more information on the postponement of the Olympic Games, take a look at these articles published on olympics.com:
The list of sports on the programme of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is available on the official website of the Organising Committee: "Sports" section.
Find out more about how the sports on the Olympic Games programme are selected and the IOC’s rules:
Surfing, sport climbing, karate, baseball/softball and skateboarding are the five new sports added to the programme of the Olympic Games 2020.The IOC has approved the proposal of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to include these five additional sports.
As decided during the IOC Executive Board in June 2017, the following events will make their first Olympic appearance at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo in 2020:
Aquatics (Swimming): 800m (Men), 1500m (Women), 4x100m Medley Mixed Relay
Archery: Mixed Team Event
Athletics: 4x400m Mixed Relay
Baseball/softball: Baseball 6-team tournament / Softball 6-team tournament
Basketball: 3x3 (Men and Women)
Cycling (BMX): BMX Freestyle Park (Men and Women)
Cycling (Track): Madison (Men and Women)
Fencing: Team Events (Men and Women)
Judo: Mixed Team Event
Karate: Kata (Men and Women), Kumite (6 events for men and women)
Skateboarding: Street (Men and Women), Park (Men and Women)
Sport climbing: Combined event (Men and Women)
Surfing: Shortboard (Men and Women)
Table Tennis: Mixed Doubles
Triathlon: Mixed Team Relay
The number of mixed events will double: from nine in Rio in 2016 to 18 in Tokyo in 2020. All new events will make use of existing venues.
The venues are concentrated in two zones: the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone.
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