The countdown to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 begins today
Excitement is building for the Olympic Games as Tokyo 2020 officially celebrated its “One Year to Go” milestone today.
Tokyo 2020 marked the occasion with a jam-packed event all throughout the day and a ceremony delivered to National Olympic Committees and athletes at the Tokyo International Forum.
Here are the highlights of this ground-breaking celebration.
Let's 55 Go! Go!
IOC President Thomas Back practising fencing with local children before the “One Year to Go” ceremony
There's no better way to get ready for the games than playing like a world-class athlete. At a special “One Year to Go” Let's 55 event at the Tokyo International Forum plaza, families and kids were able to try out different Olympic sports whilst Japanese athletes showcased their individual disciplines igniting more excitement from the visitors to look forward to the Games. IOC president Thomas Bach who just arrived at Japan this morning for attending the ceremony also jumped at the opportunity and showcased his fencing skill toward 13-year old young fencer in a smart fencing match (using a soft sword instead of the real fencing sword).
Olympic Sports at the Let's 55 (Go Go) Event during the Tokyo 2020 One Year to Go milestone
Through the Let's 55 project, the public can be an athlete for a day and get to experience the 55 sports of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. The programme also gives people a chance to meet Olympians and Paralympians who share their passion for the sport.
“We're on track”
Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto delivered a speech in the morning highlighting the progress being made towards a successful and sustainable Games.
Half of the new permanent venues are already completed with the Olympic stadium to be finished late this year. The Tokyo 2020 Medal Project has also achieved its medal project's goals of collecting precious metals to be used for creating sustainable Tokyo 2020 medals. With sustainability as a core vision of Tokyo 2020, there is also an on-going project to produce podiums from recycled household plastic waste.
“One Year to Go” Ceremony
The opening show of today's ceremony showcased the very best of Japan with a graceful performance by Honami Tsuboi, Olympic gymnast at Beijing 2008, who was accompanied by the Yoshida Brothers, one of Japan's best-known duos known for playing the shamisen – a three-stringed traditional Japanese instrument.
The performance was played against a background illuminated with project mapping created by Panasonic
After the performance, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori delivered a special message to welcome attendees of this “One Year to Go” moment.
“I believe the Tokyo 2020 Games will become an important part of Olympic history and a talking point for future generations. This–the second time that Tokyo will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games–will be an occasion where the world is united as one regardless of nationality, race, culture or religion. I fervently hope younger generations will learn to respect, understand and accept each other as a result of these Games and play a central role in realising an inclusive society in the future,” he said.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “One year from now, Japan will make history,” he said. “It will be a wonderful and unique moment for our gracious Japanese hosts to show the world the best of Japan: your rich history and traditions, your cutting-edge innovation, your culture of hospitality, and of course, your love for sport.”
IOC President Thomas Bach
He continued, “Preparations are making excellent progress, thanks to the amazing work of the Organising Committee and with outstanding cooperation and support from the government and the business community. There is so much to look forward to. I have never seen an Olympic city as prepared as Tokyo with one year to go before the Olympic Games,” he added.
National Olympic Committees hosting future Olympic and Paralympic Games were also present to receive the formal invitation to Tokyo 2020 Games from IOC President Thomas Bach.
Olympic Committee President Zhongwen Gou receiving a formal invitation to Tokyo 2020 from IOC Thomas Bach
Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay Torchbearer Programme
To add to the excitement of the “One year to Go celebration”, Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay Official Ambassadors entered the ceremony site with Games mascot Miraitowa holding the Olympic torch.
The ambassadors put special focus on the importance of the torch relay for Tokyo 2020 as it brings messages of hope to areas in Japan that are still rebuilding after the earthquake. They also highlighted the on-going recruitment for torchbearers.
Japanese Torch Relay Official ambassadors at the “One Year to Go” event
More than 10,000 torchbearers will make their way around Japan carrying the Olympic flame. The torch relay will start its journey from Fukushima, lighting its way across Japan's 47 prefectures.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals
The design of the new Olympic medals was finally unveiled during the “One Year to Go” ceremony.
Five thousand medals will be created for next year's Olympic Games and will be manufactured from precious metals extracted from mobile phones and other small electronic devices donated by the public.
The new Olympic medal designs
The new design symbolises diversity and embodies the energy and commitment of athletes. The winning design is a result of a nationwide competition launched in 2017 open to professional designers and design students.
Ryohei Miyata, chairperson of the Tokyo 2020 medal design selection panel, “I am convinced that Japanese metal moulding techniques and the superb design have combined well, and that we have the best medal in the world - one that we can be proud of. There is also a beautiful balance between the design of the medals and their ribbons. It makes me want to strive for a medal myself.”
OMEGA Countdown clock
The day wrapped up with the unveiling of the OMEGA Countdown clock, the Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games, in front of Tokyo station, used by more than one million people every day.
OMEGA has closely worked with Tokyo 2020 incorporating the design themes of the Olympic Games.
OMEGA Countdown clock
As night fell on the Japanese capital, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in Shinjuku and the city's landmark Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree were specially illuminated to mark the milestone.
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