The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, and while they may be nearly 20 months away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, TeamUSA.org will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.
Any day now, Japan’s famous cherry blossom trees will burst to life in Instagram-worthy shades of pink and white.
And come August 2020, the iconic shape of the cherry blossom flower will take on a much more fiery shade of red at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. The iconic cherry blossom — “sakura-mon” in Japanese — was the inspiration for the design of the torch that will light the cauldron for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Five sakura “petals” stamped out of aluminum will channel the Olympic flame up through the torch.
The outside of the torch is made entirely from aluminum, using the same technology used to manufacture Japan’s “shinkansen” bullet train. The aluminum was sourced from the temporary buildings used to house those displaced by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, signifying the recovery of the nation from one of its darkest crises. The torch is one solid, seamless piece of metal, symbolizing the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays.
(L) View of Tokyo 2020 torch; (R) View of the top of the torch resembling a Japanese cherry blossom.
That Olympic relay begins in one year, on March 26, 2020, again during the heart of cherry blossom season. The theme of the relay is “Hope Lights Our Way,” and will visit all 47 prefectures of Japan on its 121-day journey.
The Paralympic torch relay, meanwhile, begins at the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic Movement in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, before arriving in Japan for a relay to run Aug. 13-25, during the period between the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Each leg in the “Share Your Light”-themed relay will feature three torch bearers, and they won’t know who the others are until they begin.
The many torch bearers who will carry this new aluminum masterpiece across the country are still to be determined.