Torch Relay

Fukuahima Olympic Flame
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Olympic Flame’s public display in Japan suspended

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The Olympic Flame will be taken off public display in Fukushima after a state of emergency was declared for Tokyo and surrounding areas due to the coronavirus on Tuesday.

The public display in Fukushima, where in 2011 more than 18,000 people died or went missing after an earthquake and tsunami, will be suspended on Wednesday, according to Tokyo 2020.

The Flame arrived in Japan on March 20 and has been on public display in Fukushima since March 24, the day the Tokyo Games were postponed until 2021 (and the torch relay suspended, too).

The Flame was originally to remain on public display in Fukushima through the end of April.

The Japanese leg of the Olympic torch relay was to begin on March 26 in Fukushima, where the first competition of the Tokyo Games — softball — was scheduled two days before the Opening Ceremony. Tokyo organizers hope to keep a similar schedule for the Olympics in 2021.

The Olympic Flame is expected to remain in Japan until the torch relay restarts.

“The Olympic Flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in announcing the Olympic postponement.

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As Olympic Flame arrives in Japan, IOC considers scenarios for Tokyo Games

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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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Greece portion of Olympic Torch Relay suspended

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The Olympic Torch Relay’s Greece portion was canceled on the second day of its eight-day trek through the nation due to the coronavirus, Greece’s Olympic Committee confirmed Friday.

The Olympic Flame, lit in the Ancient Olympic site of Olympia on Thursday, was carried by, among others, actor Gerard Butler in Sparta on Friday before the suspension. Butler starred as Spartan King Leonidas in the 2006 film “300.”

An unexpectedly large crowd attendance in Sparta despite recommendations to the public not to focus on the ceremony led to the decision to cancel the rest of the program, according to a translation of a Greek statement. The Greek Olympic Committee later confirmed the cancellation in an email in English.

The delivery of the Olympic Flame to Tokyo 2020 next Thursday will take place without spectators at the 1896 Olympic Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, according to the Greek statement.

The International Olympic Committee reiterated its “full commitment” to the Tokyo Olympics after the Greek leg of the torch relay was canceled.

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H EOE διακόπτει την Ολυμπιακή Λαμπαδηδρομία για την προάσπιση της δημόσιας υγείας!H Eλληνική Ολυμπιακή Επιτροπή μετά…

Posted by Hellenic Olympic Committee on Friday, March 13, 2020