Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay Begins

General News | Jun-14-2021

Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay Begins

The element of Olympic flame in the Olympic games connect the modern games to their ancient heritage. During the ancient Olympics, a large basin was kept lit with fire for the entire duration of the ceremonies and competitions. This was said that to mirror the fire, the Titan Prometheus gave humanity after stealing it from the other, the Greek god Zeus. Prometheus’s gift is said to have nudged humankind towards civilization. For the modern Olympics, the flame represents this myth, an ode to the growth of civilization, and the ancient tradition of the Games.

The Olympic Flame arrived last year as originally games were supposed to take place in 2020. The Olympic Torch Relay of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 went underway on 25th March 2021. This epic journey will start at the J-Village in Fukushima, and finish at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Tokyo on 23 July when the cauldron will be lit.

The torch relay will last for 121 days, with spending three days in the hardest-hit towns of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 - Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi. It will also spend three days in four other towns while hosting multiple competitions during the 23 July-8 August Tokyo Games in 2021 - Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Shizuoka. Tokyo will get to host the torch for the longest duration – 15 days while the remaining 39 prefectures will have it for two days each. This schedule remains unchanged from its original plan in 2020

The flame reached Japan on 20 March 2020 at Matsushima Airbase in Miyagi after being lit in Greece. The flame was being safely guarded at the Olympic Museum in Tokyo, located across the street from the Olympic Stadium since the games got postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.

The torch is designed after the cherry blossom flower, which is synonymous with the Japanese spring. It is also made out of approximately 30 percent of recycled aluminum that was used for temporary housing after the 2011 quake and tsunami. Hydrogen is being used to light the torch in certain legs of the relay, which emits no carbon dioxide when burned.

The first torchbearer for Japan is the Nadeshiko Japan women's football team, who won the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup to help uplift a nation still reeling from the aftermath of the disaster that year. She will hand over the torch to 16-year-old Fukushima native Owada Asato, the second torchbearer. Further torchbearers will be issued by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee two weeks before the day they are due to run. A celebration will take place after the torchbearer arrives at the last destination on any given day.

By: Deeksha Goyal