Tokyo 2020 announces torchbearers for Grand Start of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay

Tokyo torch

17 Dec 2019

The torchbearers at the Grand Start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay will comprise members of the Japan women's national football team who won the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, the first ever Japanese football team to become FIFA world champions.

The start will take place at the J-Village National Training Centre in Fukushima on 26 March 2020. Other details of the Relay, including the route, the special pose that will be adopted by torchbearers when passing the flame, and samples of the licensed merchandise being produced to commemorate it were also unveiled.

Grand Start torchbearers for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay

The fighting spirit the World Cup-winning team displayed during the tournament inspired many of the people struggling in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which had struck the country earlier that year. Their achievement was recognised by the conferring of a National Honour Award on the whole team in August 2011. Only 30 years after the formation of the first Japanese women’s football team in 1981, the national team had become world champions. The following year, they won silver medals as runners-up at the Olympic Games London 2012 and reached the finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015.

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Tokyo 2020 will select the torchbearers for the main section of the Olympic Torch Relay from a shortlist of applicants which will be submitted by four Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners and a single Prefectural Task Force.

Further details of the Olympic Torch Relay route

Commencing its journey on 26 March 2020 from the J-Village National Training Centre in Fukushima Prefecture, the Olympic flame will traverse all of Japan’s 47 prefectures, passing by many of the nation’s most famous and cherished sights for a period of 121 days, serving as a symbol of the Olympic Games and visiting 858 local municipalities along the way. The torch will be carried by torchbearers on most days – where necessary it will be transported by boat, train or cable car between segments.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay route will take in World Heritage Sites such as Mount Fuji and Itsukushima shrine and other historic locations and popular places, including favourite local community spots, with the charm of each being showcased during the Relay. The Relay will also take in areas that are continuing to recover from natural disasters, such as the Tohoku region, which was struck by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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Further details of the Olympic Torch Relay route, including starting and finishing points, the transport arrangements during special legs and the celebration sites along the way, are available at

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay “Torch Kiss” poses recommended by Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020 has created three poses that can be adopted by torchbearers during the “Torch Kiss” – the passing of the flame from one torchbearer to another. These aim to embody the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay concept of “Hope Lights Our Way”. The poses have been labelled “2020”, “Connecting With Each Other” and “Hope Lights Our Way”. Torchbearers can select one of these or adopt any other pose that best reflects their own feelings on the day.

Licensed merchandise designed for the Olympic Torch Relay

Various items of licensed merchandise bearing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay emblem and pictogram, as well as images of Olympic mascot Miraitowa, will be on sale from 18 December 2019 – exactly 100 days until the start of the Relay. These will be offered via the Tokyo 2020 online store and at official outlets across Japan.

IOC News Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay
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