Celebrating the present and the future — from Rio to Tokyo
Looking to the future on the early stage of competition in Rio de Janeiro, IOC President Thomas Bach and a delegation of IOC Members joined a traditional sake barrel-breaking ceremony at the newly opened Tokyo 2020 Japan House.
Dozens of IOC Members, as well as leaders from National Olympic Committees, International Federations and other sports organisations, filled the Japanese hospitality house on Sunday to look ahead to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 whilst enjoying the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The ceremony’s hosts included the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese Olympic Committee, Japanese Olympians (Team Japan), the Tokyo Municipal Government and the national government.
“We are looking forward to Tokyo 2020 with great anticipation,” President Bach said. “We know in your hands, the Olympic Games will be in safe hands.”
The IOC President and other guests joined the hosts in wielding mallets to smash the wooden tops of sake barrels in the traditional “kagami biraki” ceremony, before toasting to the success of the current and future Olympic Games.
IOC Member Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, paid tribute to the Rio Games before addressing his hopes for the next Games of the Olympiad. He said the addition of five new sports for Tokyo 2020 — baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing — would add to the excitement and youth appeal.
“I promise it will become the Games to remember,” he said.
The Tokyo 2020 Japan House, located in Rio de Janeiro’s Cidade das Artes (City of Arts) cultural complex, features information about the Tokyo 2020 Games as well as a chance to experience Japanese culture and music.
“The Tokyo 2020 Japan House is based here in Rio to disseminate the beauty of Tokyo and Japan to the world,” Tokyo Vice Governor Takashi Yamamoto said.
President Bach said the Tokyo 2020 Games would be an important addition to Japan’s Olympic legacy, which includes hosting the first Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games in Asia — Tokyo 1964 and Sapporo 1972 — as well as the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998.
“We are ready to write history together with you. You have been writing history with the Olympic Games in your country already,” President Bach said. “With Tokyo 2020, you are ready to enter into a new era of the Olympic Games and of the history of the Olympic Movement in Japan.”