Following a month-long recruitment process, which saw Coca-Cola receive applications from people of all ages across Japan, members of the public were chosen to lead out each Olympic team during the traditional Parade of Nations.
Coca-Cola hopes that these Placard Bearers, featuring people of all genders and backgrounds – including people living with disabilities, LGBTQ+ advocates, welfare workers, medical professionals, volunteers, Olympians and cultural ambassadors – will help celebrate the diversity of the Olympic Games, which see athletes from all over the world coming together to compete in peace.
Mikako Kotani, Tokyo 2020’s Sports Director and Head of the Gender Equality Promotion Team, highlighted the Placard Bearers’ important role in leading out the athletes from each country and region in the Parade of Nations at the Opening Ceremony. “One of the concepts of Tokyo 2020 is ‘diversity and harmony’. Diversity encompasses not only age, race and nationality, physical and mental functioning, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and beliefs, and values, but also social status, experience, work style, corporate culture and lifestyle. A world where people can live as their most authentic self, can demonstrate their abilities because we understand each other and respect diversity. That's what we want to see at Tokyo 2020.
"By sharing the concept of diversity and inclusion [D&I] with all athletes, spectators and other people involved in the Games, we aim to ensure that, after the Games, each person will continue to practise the D&I awareness gained at Tokyo 2020, thereby rooting it in society as part of our legacy. I would like to thank all the Placard Bearers who have been asked to play a role in disseminating D&I to the world for their participation in the Opening Ceremony, and let us unite our efforts to make the Games a success and realise a world where diversity is respected.”
As part of its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, Coca-Cola is also a partner of Pride House Tokyo – a pop-up information centre and events venue that aims to create a permanent safe space for the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth as an enduring legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The Coca-Cola Company is the longest-standing partner of the Olympic Movement, having supported every edition of the Olympic Games since 1928. Coca-Cola has also been a proud partner of the Olympic torch relay for more than two decades and was a founding member of The Olympic Partner (TOP) programme. Its renewed partnership until at least 2032 extends the Company’s association with the Olympic Movement to a historic 104-year relationship.