By Todd Kortemeier | Feb. 17, 2020, 12:51 p.m. (ET)
A general view of the Olympic rings as they are illuminated for the first time to mark six months to go to the Olympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park on Jan. 24, 2020 in Tokyo.

 

“United by Emotion” is in many ways a perfect motto for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Confirmed Monday by the Tokyo Organizing Committee, the motto strikes at the heart of what the Olympic and Paralympic movements are about. Sure, sports bring people together, but it is more specifically the emotions people feel that shape that common experience.

One athlete sure to stir the emotions of hometown fans is tennis star Naomi Osaka, who played a starring role in a video announcing the official motto. In the video, Osaka is shown making her way to the Olympic grounds along with people from all over the world visiting for the Games. The voiceover reinforces themes of how sports can help people connect with each other no matter where they come from.

“In this age where we so often connect without ever actually meeting,” Osaka says in the video, “we’ll gather in Tokyo from all over the world. So many nationalities, so many ethnicities, people of every shape and size and gender. Young and old coming together in a community of astounding diversity.”

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The Tokyo Games are the first ones in recent history to cite emotion in the Olympic motto. Other Games like PyeongChang in 2018 (“Passion. Connected.”) and Torino in 2006 (“Passion lives here”) have referenced “passion,” and some like Sydney in 2000 (“Share the Spirit”) have referenced a shared experience. Mottos are typically short and sweet like Tokyo’s, almost always three or four words.

The motto will be seen everywhere once the Games themselves get underway, and for now will proudly be displayed on the Tokyo Skytree, Japan’s tallest structure, from Monday through Wednesday, March 25, to get fans excited for the Games.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.