The Olympic Flame landed in Japan on Friday for a 121-day trek leading up to the July 24 Opening Ceremony.
“While we do not know how long the tunnel we are all in at this moment will be, we would like the Olympic Flame to be a light at the end of this tunnel,” IOC president Thomas Bach said.
Bach also repeated his stance that it would not be responsible to set a deadline on an Olympic decision because it would be based on speculation. The IOC has a task force, including the World Health Organization, which said it is too early to make a decision with four months to go
Bach said “of course, we are considering different scenarios” for the Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to The New York Times.
Bach was asked if the IOC had a group considering what an Olympics would look like if held later this year or in 2021 or 2022. He did not detail any possible scenarios but repeated that cancellation is not on the agenda, according to the report. And that the priority is protecting the health of everyone involved and supporting the containment of the virus.
At a Japanese air base Friday, three-time Olympic gold medalists Saori Yoshida (wrestling) and Tadahiro Nomura (judo) received the Flame at a lighting ceremony.
“For the first time in 56 years, the Olympic torch is heading to Tokyo and I hope that the Olympic torch will illuminate the path of hope for many people,” Tokyo 2020 organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori said at a scaled-down event, according to The Associated Press.
The flame was lit in the Ancient Olympic site of Olympia on March 12 and spent eight days in Greece.
The relay is scheduled to visit all 47 prefectures of Japan with emphasis on the area affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Around 98 percent of Japan’s population live within one hour by car or train of the route.
With the motto “Hope Lights Our Way,” it will visit the three prefectures most affected by the tsunami and earthquake (Fukushima (March 26-28), Iwate (June 17-19) and Miyagi (June 20-22)) for three days each.
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The Olympic flame has landed in Japan. 🇯🇵 #Tokyo2020
Olympic medallists 🥇 Tadahiro Nomura and Saori Yoshida were at Matsushima Air Base to welcome the flame.
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) March 20, 2020