World’s oldest person to carry Olympic flame, report says

Kane Tanaka
Guinness World Records
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Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old Japanese woman and the world’s oldest person, is scheduled to carry the Olympic flame as part of the Tokyo Games torch relay in May, according to a report.

Tanaka is listed on the lineup for the torch relay, aiming to participate on May 11, according to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper. She was to carry the flame this past May had the Olympics not been postponed until 2021, according to Japanese media back in February.

Tokyo Olympic organizers have not confirmed her participation.

Tanaka, born Jan. 2, 1903, would be 118 years and 129 days old on her day with the flame. She will hold a torch while pushed in a wheelchair for 200 meters, according to the report.

“When we were first approached about her doing it, we worried what might happen given her age, but we were getting worked up over nothing,” her 61-year-old grandson said, according to the report. “We’ll be happy if the people who see her holding the torch up and looking well can think, ‘There’s hope in going on living.'”

Tanaka was born seven years after the first modern Olympics in Athens and in the same year that the Wright brothers flew the first motor-operated airplane. Tokyo will mark the 50th Olympics — Summer or Winter — of her life.

She became the world’s oldest person in January 2019, according to Guinness World Records.

In 2016, a 106-year-old known as Grandma Iaiá became who was believed to be the oldest torch bearer in Olympic history.

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