|Host city||Tokyo, Japan|
|Countries visited||Greece, Japan|
|Distance||20,000 kilometres (12,000 mi)|
|Theme||Hope Lights Our Way|
|Start date||12 March 2020(Greece) |
25 March 2021 (Japan relay)
|End date||25 March 2020(Japan) |
23 July 2021 (Japan relay)
|Part of a series on|
The 2020 Summer Olympics torch relay is scheduled to run from 12 March 2020 until 23 July 2021. After being lit in Olympia, Greece, the torch was handed over to the Olympic shooting champion Anna Korakaki, who became the first woman to be first Olympic torchbearer. It was then transported to Athens on 19 March by official airliner Japan Airlines. The Japanese leg will begin in Fukushima, and will end in Tokyo's New National Stadium, the main venue of the 2020 Olympics. It will make a tour of Japanese cities, including all 47 prefectural capitals. The torch is even scheduled to go to two remote island groups which are part of Tokyo. The end of the relay will be the finale of the 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. Toyota, NTT, JXTG, Nippon Life, JAL, ANA and Japan Post Holdings are the presenting partners of the relay, with the slogan being "Hope Lights Our Way".
The torch relay is subject to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The planned relay leg through Greece was cancelled, and both the lighting ceremony in Olympia and the handover ceremony in Athens had no public attendance. The relay was suspended on 25 March 2020, a day before the Japanese relay was due to start, and the torch was moved to Tokyo for exhibition until the planned resumption on 25 March 2021.
The Olympic torch was designed by Tokujin Yoshioka and unveiled 19 March 2019; the design is inspired by cherry blossoms, with 5 petal-shaped columns around the tip of the torch, and a rose-gold "sakura gold" color finish. Their construction will incorporate aluminum recycled from unused shelters deployed in the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
Route in Greece
The traditional lighting ceremony was held on 12 March 2020 at Olympia, Greece, and the torch was handed over to the first torchbearer, Anna Korakaki. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first lighting ceremony since 1984 to be held without spectators. The handover ceremony was held at Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 19 March. The torch was to visit 31 cities and 15 landmarks across Greece, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was cancelled. On 13 March, a small ceremony was held in Sparta, the notable torchbearer was Scottish actor Gerard Butler, known for playing Leonidas in the movie 300 in commemorating with the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae.
- 12 March 2020: Olympia, Amaliada, Pyrgos, Kyparissia, Kalamata
- 13 March 2020 (rest of the day cancelled): Sparta, Tripoli, Nafplio, Megara, Piraeus
- 14 March 2020 (cancelled): Kastellorizo, Agios Nikolaos, Rethymno, Chania
- 15 March 2020 (cancelled): Thermopylae, Volos, Thessaloniki, Chania
- 16 March 2020 (cancelled): Kavala, Alexandroupoli
- 17 March 2020 (cancelled): Amphipolis, Vergina, Meteora
- 18 March 2020 (cancelled): Marathon, Sounion, Athens
- 19 March 2020: Panathenaic Stadium
As the damage from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami mostly affected three prefectures, Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima, a special torch display known as "Flame of Recovery" will be held in these three prefectures. The flame first arrived at Matsushima Air Field before being displayed at the locations below.
- 20 March 2020: Ishinomaki Minamihama Tsunami Recovery Memorial Park, Ishinomaki
- 21 March 2020: Sendai Station, Sendai
- 22 March 2020: Sanriku Railway and the SL Ginga Steam Locomotive Express (between Miyako, Kamaishi and Hanamaki Stations)
- 23 March 2020: Kyassen Ofunato, Ōfunato
- 24 March 2020: Fukushima Station, Fukushima
- 25 March 2020: Aquamarine Fukushima, Iwaki
After the postponement of the Summer Olympics to 2021, the torch display remained in Fukushima for at least a month before subsequently moved to Tokyo. The Olympic Flame would be later placed on display at Japan Olympic Museum from 1 September 2020 until 30 November 2020. With the restart of the relay will take place on 25 March 2021, during the 10th anniversary of the disaster in the rescheduled Olympics.
Route in Japan
The original schedule of the torch relay in Japan was from 26 March to 24 July 2020. After the postponement of the Summer Olympics to 2021, all relays were delayed by 364 days (one day less than a full year to preserve the same days of the week). Although this wasn't announced until 28 September 2020 and this is taken from the original 2020 schedule:
Tokyo metropolitan leg
End of torch relay
At the 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, the relay will end with the lighting of the cauldron at the New National Stadium. In December 2018, organizers announced that, similar to what happened at the 2016 Summer Olympics, two cauldrons will be built: one inside the Olympic Stadium and another on the waterfront, near the Dream Bridge. The function of the stadium cauldron will be merely scenographic, to go according to what is established in the Olympic Charter. The Dream Bridge cauldron will be the place where the flame will burn during the 16 days of the Games. It will be lighted right after the end of opening ceremony and will be extinguished a few moments before the closing ceremony starts, when the flame will return to the scenographic cauldron inside the stadium and will be burned for its last few moments. The decision to use a public cauldron came from the fact that it would not be possible to maintain the flame burning inside the stadium during the games.
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