Hope lights our way

With one year to go until the Olympic torch relay in Japan, Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games unveiled the design of the Olympic torch.
27 March, 2019
The torch incorporates several elements of Japanese culture, and has an important goal to reinforce the main concept of the upcoming torch relay: "Hope lights our way".
This concept is designed to bring the Japanese people together around messages of support, acceptance and encouragement of one another, while also reflecting the Olympic flame's ability to promote peace and hope to the world.

Not only the designers were able to incorporate the image of the world famous Japanese cherry blossom that happens to bloom in March, coinciding with the start of the Olympic Torch Relay, but the shape of the torch also resembles a Japanese traditional "Sakuramon" cherry blossom emblem. Seventy-one centimeters long and weighing 1.2 kilograms, the torch looks like this traditional plant seen from above.

The body of the torch features five cylinders that represent petals of the beloved flower. Flames stem from every "petal" and then are united in the center of the torch, which creates and eye-catching fire dance. A number of technological innovations are deployed in the combustion section that lights the torch, including catalytic reaction.

To support the innovative approach in creating the torch, the designers utilized the same modern aluminium extrusion technology used in the manufacturing of Japan's renowned bullet trains to create such a unique shape.

Image: Japan News
One more crucial feature of the torch is its sustainability as it was made using aluminium waste from temporary housing that was built in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. While the materials were once used to help rebuild lives, they will now be used to spread a message of hope and recovery. About 30 percent of the aluminum used to make it came from aluminum window frames for temporary housing in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, which were battered by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

"I wanted to show everyone around the world how people are overcoming their struggles and recovering from the disaster," said torch designer Tokujin Yoshioka, 52.

In order to celebrate unity in diversity, the torch was specially designed to be easy to use for everyone. It consists of a weight and shape that is simple to grip and features a position mark to help visually impaired torchbearers identify the front of the torch.

The committee also announced on the day details about the torch relay itself. There will be 80 to 90 bearers per day, with each person running about 200 meters. It is assumed that the ceremony of lighting the fire in the Greek Olympia will be held on March 11, 2020 – the ninth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake tragedy. Then, by March 20, the Olympic flame will be delivered to Japan, and on March 26, the Olympic relay will begin in Fukushima Prefecture.

The XXXII summer Olympic games will be held in Tokyo in 2020 from July 24 to August 9.

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