Tokyo Olympic Games Torch Relay

With the delay of the Tokyo Olympics, and the uncertainty of it going ahead, there was great relief when the Olympic torch relay finally started in March 2021, beginning the journey through Japan to the eventual start of the Olympic Games of the XXXII Olympiad in July 2021.

The 2020 Tokyo Torch

2020 Tokyo Olympic Games TorchThe Olympic torch for the Tokyo Olympic Games was designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, the design inspired by cherry blossoms with five petal-shaped columns around the tip of the torch, and a rose-gold "sakura gold" color finish. The construction of the torch incorporated 30 percent recycled aluminum taken from the prefabricated housing units used in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The Lighting Ceremony

The traditional torch lighting ceremony was held on 12 March 2020 at Olympia, Greece. The lighting ceremony was held without spectators (the first time since 1984) and the torch was handed over to the first torchbearer, Anna Korakaki. She was the first female to be the first to carry the torch.

The torch was scheduled to visit 31 cities and 15 landmarks across Greece, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Greece part of the relay leg was canceled.

Torch Route

The Japanese leg of the torch relay was due to start on 25 March 2020, but was was suspended a day before it was to start. The torch was moved to Tokyo to be put on exhibition until the relay was resumed nearly exactly a year later.

The torch relay started in Fukushima, then will continue through Iwate and Miyagi, the prefectures most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, then continue on to all corners of Japan. There is still an impact of the coronavirus, with the Olympic Torch Relay leg in Osaka being cancelled as the country's Government imposed new restrictions to curb rising coronavirus cases.

Members of the Japan women's football team were the first to carry the torch. The torch will continue on a 120-day journey through 859 locations. The relay will end with the lighting of the cauldron at the New National Stadium in Tokyo on 23 July 2021. 

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