On Sunday 13 November, The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted an event at Sophia University's Yotsuya Campus entitled "University Partnership: Rio to Tokyo for Students", part of the Tokyo 2020 Official Education Programme.
Under the theme of "Playback Rio!" the first part of the event invited university students who had visited Rio unto the stage to share with the audience their experiences of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the volunteer activities they have undertaken there. They were dressed in uniforms that had been supplied to volunteers and reflected on what they had learned through their experiences there.
"For people from countries around the world with a variety of different backgrounds to come together as a single team and participate in volunteer activities, it is necessary to recognise cultural differences," one student observed. "It's also important to actively promote yourself as a member of the team."
The second part of the event consisted of a symposium discussing preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Games under the theme "Go Tokyo!" Olympians from partner universities who competed at the Rio 2016 Games participated in the symposium, which developed into a venue-wide discussion about what could be done right away and in the immediate future to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Games and how university students could best enjoy them.
One of the Rio medallists told attendees, "Seeing the huge crowds at the medallists' parade in downtown Tokyo after the Games, I realised how many people had been watching me, and I was very grateful for their support. It's impossible to win a medal on your own. An athlete's life is focused on competition, and as a result you miss out on a lot of things. I hope lots of people will get involved to help make the Tokyo 2020 Games a big success."
In addition to being treated to a display of merchandise promoting the Rio 2016 Games and a video about the Games in front of the venue entrance, attendees took commemorative photographs and were able to hold the torch used in the Rio 2016 Olympics torch relay, helping them to feel a personal connection with the Olympics and Paralympics.
The University Partnership programme facilitates partnership agreements between The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and universities and junior colleges throughout Japan in an effort to advance Olympic and Paralympic education, as well as foster education that gives graduates a global outlook and pursue various initiatives that draw on each partner institution's unique characteristics in advance of the Tokyo 2020 Games.