One year ago, the world was waiting in anticipation to find out if officials would or wouldn’t delay the Olympic Games. It seemed like a microscopic virus that quickly spread around the world proved to be too big even for the Olympic Games. On March 24th, 2020, Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, and members of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee announced that the XXXII Olympic Games would be rescheduled due to growing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been a year since that announcement was made and what a year it’s been. While the world is still fighting the pandemic, there seems to be light (or a torch, rather!) at the end of the tunnel. On March 25th, the Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay began in Naraha, Fukushima. The Nadeshiko Japan women’s football team had the honor of being the first torchbearers to officially kick off the Olympic Games.
The torch will travel to 859 different municipalities across Japan in 121 days, with its final destination at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, just in time for the Opening Ceremonies and the official start of the Olympic Games on July 23rd. While the Olympic Games is always a time for the entire world to come together, this year’s games seem to be more meaningful than most because of what the world has gone through over the past twelve months. IOC President Thomas Bach said, “Inspired by the Olympic values of peace and solidarity, the Olympic Torch Relay will carry Tokyo 2020’s message, ‘hope lights our way,’ across Japan and the world. It will also acknowledge the challenges faced by society since last year, highlighting the importance of unity and solidarity within humankind, showing that we can only become stronger—together.”