How Tokyo 2020 Will Select 10,000 Torchbearers From Over 535,000 - By Elizabeth Jeneault - J-Pop Exchange Information & Views
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How Tokyo 2020 Will Select 10,000 Torchbearers
From Over 535,000

By Elizabeth Jeneault for The J-Pop Exchange

The Olympic Torch Relay is one of the most unique and special traditions of the Olympics. The Torch Relay and the Olympic flame help spread the Olympic values of peace, unity, and friendship throughout the entire host country. It’s something many people dream of being involved in, but only 10,000 torchbearers will ultimately be selected to take part in the upcoming relay. Half of those will be members of the general public.

Continue reading below to find out how torchbearers will be selected and what being an Olympic torchbearer actually involves!

Over 535,000 Torchbearer Applications Received

More than 535,000 people applied to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay across Japan. That means there are a lot of applications to sift through before some 10,000 torchbearers are selected and notified in December!

Why the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Has Special Meaning

“Hope Lights Our Way” is the concept behind the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay. The Japanese leg will begin in Fukushima and will make its way through all of the country’s 47 prefectures. Organizers have specifically designed the “Flame of Recovery” relay to bring a message of hope to areas worst affected by the deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami. That’s why upon the Olympic flame’s arrival in Japan, it will initially be put on display at various locations in the Tohoku region.

Olympic Torchbearer Selection Process

Men, women, and children from a wide range of nationalities and abilities will be chosen to participate as Olympic torchbearers. There are several eligibility requirements applicants must meet in order to be selected, though!

For example, applicants must be born on or before April 1, 2008. Applicants must also have a personal connection to the area in which they wish to participate as a torchbearer! It could be someone who once lived in the prefecture, is currently living there, or just has family there. But, some sort of personal connection is important!

Preference will also be given to those who provide essential, daily support for family, friends, and colleagues, or who have overcome great adversity. Those who are accepting of different backgrounds and who have led various initiatives to welcome newcomers into their local community will also be given preference. Finally, it helps if people can prove they’ve fostered a sense of togetherness in their community or can help promote the traditional cultural activities of the local area.

The four Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners and Prefecture Task Forces will select prospective Olympic torchbearers who meet the requirements and forward those recommendations on to Tokyo 2020. Tokyo 2020 will then select and decide the final torchbearers (while also aiming to ensure a wide range of people are represented). The announcement of the torchbearers is scheduled for December!

Fun Facts About Being a Torchbearer

Those who are ultimately selected to be one of the 10,000 Olympic torchbearers will get to carry the Olympic flame (or have someone assist them in carrying it) some 200 meters! While there is no fee to take part, torchbearers do have to pay their own way to get to where they are ultimately assigned (which won’t be determined until a later date). While organizers attempt to assign torchbearers to the prefecture in wish they wish to act as such, they could be assigned elsewhere.

Torchbearers are required to wear the official Olympic torchbearer uniform. The uniform has special meaning and is made of material from plastic bottles that members of Japan’s public recycled. Coca-Cola led that recycling effort in the country. Something else interesting, is that torchbearers are allowed to purchase a torch (which was designed for Tokyo 2020 with a cherry blossom motif, a flower close to the hearts of many Japanese people)!

While few torchbearers will ultimately be selected, those who do get a chance to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay will surely enjoy an experience unlike any other!

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