The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee presented significant progress towards hosting inclusive Olympic Games that use the power of sport to change the world, with several announcements at the ninth Project Review (11-12 September), including the date for the lighting of the Olympic flame, the launch of volunteer applications and confirmation of the aquatics competition schedule.
Tokyo 2020’s Olympic Games plan is really starting to take shape,” said IOC Coordination Commission Chair for Tokyo 2020, John Coates. “We are now at a point where we are working with the Organising Committee on planning on an item-by-item basis. This Project Review was an opportunity to give guidance on any subjects that needed clarification.
During the Project Review, Tokyo 2020 confirmed that the Olympic Torch Relay will begin on 12 March 2020. Not only does the lighting of the Olympic flame signal the proximity of the next Olympic Games, but it will also take on special significance for this edition of the Games, at the start of the 10th year since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami so badly affected the Tohoku area of Japan.
We hope that this symbolic act will underline the Olympic Movement’s support for the citizens of these regions, as well as allowing them to show the watching world the progress that they have made in rebuilding their lives and inspiring the local children through the Olympic valuesJohn Coates IOC Coordination Commission Chair for Tokyo 2020
Following a six-day journey in Greece, the flame will then make its way to Japan, and will be displayed for six days in the Tohoku region, commemorating the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, before vising each of the 47 Japanese prefectures under the theme “Hope Lights Our Way”.
“We hope that this symbolic act will underline the Olympic Movement’s support for the citizens of these regions, as well as allowing them to show the watching world the progress that they have made in rebuilding their lives and inspiring the local children through the Olympic values,” Coates said.
Alongside the start date for the Olympic Torch Relay, the Organising Committee announced that volunteer sign-ups will begin on 26 September this year, providing a wonderful opportunity for people to experience the Games in a unique manner that will create lifelong memories and friends, and will be a key factor in the Games’ success.
Tokyo 2020 also released the competition schedule by session that includes the timing of the events for all of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic aquatics events, as well as revealing that a total of six Olympic softball games and one Olympic baseball game will be staged at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.
The location of these games further underlines the region’s continued regeneration following the destructive 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
In addition to the competition announcements, the first test event for Tokyo 2020 was being contested at the sailing venue while the Project Review was underway. This is a significant step, with sport now starting in the Olympic venues with a view to the Games.
Since the Coordination Commission meeting in July, the Organising Committee has welcomed hundreds of international journalists and broadcasters at the World Press Briefing and World Broadcaster Meeting, both of which received positive praise.
These milestones signal the transition to the delivery of events, and their successful completion bodes well for fantastic Olympic Games in less than two years, while Tokyo will this year also welcome the ANOC General Assembly, IOC Executive Board meeting and the final Coordination Commission of 2018, showing that the Olympic Movement is making its way to Japan.