Schedule announced for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay

FILE PHOTO - Workers and media members are seen at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, during a media opportunity in Tokyo, Japan July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO, 13 SEPTEMBER 2018 (INSIDE THE GAMES) – The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Hellenic Olympic Committee have jointly announced the dates and places for the Olympic Torch Relay.

The Flame Lighting Ceremony will take place in Greece on March 12, 2020.

As is tradition a modern High Priestess will ignite the flame at the Temple of Hera, using the sun’s rays and a parabolic mirror.

The Greek leg of the Torch Relay will then run for eight days until March 19.

A handover ceremony of the flame will be held at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.

Tokyo 2020 representatives will then travel with the flame to Japan, arriving on March 20.

The flame will first be displayed through Miyagi, Iwate and Fukishima prefectures to commemorate the three areas that were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The natural disasters killed around 16,000 people in the Tohoku region.

The Olympic Torch Relay will then commence on March 26, travelling to all 47 prefectures of Japan for 121 days.

Special permission has been granted for this by the IOC, who usually cap Relays at 100 days.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori expressed his gratitude to the IOC for accepting the planned Torch Relay.

“I would like to thank the IOC leadership including President Bach and [Coordination Commission chair] John Coates for their kind understanding of our requests regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay,” Mori said.

“Thanks to their great support, we will be able to hold a Torch Relay lasting 121 days, including transit days, and exhibit the Olympic flame in the affected regions in Tohoku ahead of the grand start.

“I would also like to express my sincere appreciation for the cooperation of the Hellenic Olympic Committee in reaching this decision on the schedule of the Torch Relay.

“The entire schedule of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay has now been decided.

“Each prefecture has established its own committee which will formulate the details of the route.

“We have asked them to come up with routes that highlight the unique features of their prefectures, and to select runners who embody the spirit of the Torch Relay.

“I am looking forward to the arrival in Japan of the Olympic flame, which will be lit in the ancient city of Olympia in Greece.”

Coates echoed Mori’s excitement.

“The lighting of the Olympic flame in Ancient Olympia is a moment of great significance for all of us that love the Olympic Games,” he said.

“It not only signals to the world that the next edition of the Games is nearly upon us but it is also the start of a journey that sees the flame light up its historical homeland and the host nation.

“The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay lighting will have a special significance in 2020, as we enter the 10th year since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami so badly affected the Tohoku area of Japan.

“At the IOC, we fully support Tokyo 2020’s initiative to display the flame in the affected prefectures when it arrives in 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 values.”

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