The Olympic flame is an important symbol of the Olympic movement.
There is however, a very practical aspect which cannot be forgotten: the flame needs to work and stay alight!
YAMAMOTO Yohei is an engineer and part of the production team in charge of the combustion mechanism, a device that ensures the flame stays alive and burns brightly during its transport from Greece to Japan, and throughout the Olympic Torch Relay journey around Japan.
“We were here in Greece to bring the Olympic flame from Ancient Olympic to Athens and Japan. It’s quite an honour to maintain the flame," he explained to Tokyo2020.org.
For him to see the flame lit and successfully brought to Japan was a great achievement. “We have been working on the flaming device for a long time, I feel that finally our dreams have come true," he says.
However, there is always a risk that the device does not work, the flame does not light or it goes out entirely at some point of the journey. Fortunately this didn’t happen during the ceremony in Greece, much to Yamamoto's relief.
“When I saw the Olympic flame from the first torchbearer, to be honest I was so nervous but so excited, it was kind of mixed feelings," he adds.
Now that the flame has arrived safely in Japan, it will continue its journey everywhere in the country. The Olympic flame will be put on display at various locations in the Tohoku region, to highlight the message of peace and hope in the areas worst affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
“Our first mission is to bring the flame safely over to Japan. We will bring the light to the people who were damaged by the massive earthquake in 2011. Hopefully, we can bring hope that is far away from Japan and will bring a big smile to the people in Japan.”