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  • Paralympics Celebrate One Year to Go


    (ATR) It's exactly one year until the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

    Tokyo Skytree will be red, blue and green to celebrate one year to go to Paralympics. (Tokyo 2020)
    Tokyo 2020 and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) are both marking the occasion with a series of initiatives to build momentum for the delayed Games, which will be held a year late from August 24 to September 5, 2021.

    Both organizations have plans in place to illuminate buildings on Monday with the Paralympic colors of red, blue and green.

    The Tokyo Skytree will be lit up and also feature a special message to celebrate one year to go as part of Tokyo 2020's efforts.

    TMG will also begin displaying manga panels of each Paralympic sport drawn by popular artists of Japan's popular comics industry as well as posters of para athletes at the TMG No. 1 Building beginning Monday.

    Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike addressed the reason for the one-year postponement of the Games in her comments on Monday, saying "In order to respond to everyone’s hopes, we will first devote all of our efforts to winning
    the fight against an invisible enemy—the novel coronavirus.

    "We will work closely with all parties concerned and advance preparations to hold a successful Games brimming with hope, which will serve as a symbol of humankind bonding even more strongly as the world came together as one to overcome this difficult situation," Koike added.

    Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said "I am convinced that one year from today, the performances of para-athletes from around the globe will have special value as a symbol of solidarity, and a demonstration of human strength and the power to persevere." 

    On Wednesday Netflix will release ‘Rising Phoenix’, a movie documenting the Paralympic Movement. The film will premiere in roughly 190 countries worldwide. Paralympians will make appearances throughout the film, along with Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, to discuss the success of London 2012 for the movement.

    Melissa Stockwell.(Team USA)
    For the athletes ready to compete this year, waiting for another 12 months is certainly a tough adjustment.

    “I think the trend among all the athletes is that it was definitely the right call because health always comes first. But there are a lot of different emotions there because I think we live our lives on these four year quads from Games to Games," says two-time U.S. Paralympian Melissa Stockwell.

    "I think trying to find ways personally to put a positive spin on it, I have one year to get even faster. or there's one year for my kids to get one year older to maybe look at me and understand why mom swims, bikes and runs all the time,” added Stockwell, who won bronze in the paratriathlon at Rio 2016.

    Jarryd Wallace. (Team USA)
    Speaking on training during the quarantine, two-time U.S. Paralympian Jarryd Wallace says “as Olympic athletes and Paralympic athletes at the elite level the difference between the good and the greats are the ones that are able to adapt.

    "We are constantly adapting, every person who is on the finals of any race is one percent from being injured and one percent away from winning the gold. It’s where do you land on the one percent spectrum, and how can you get your body prepared as possible to be the one percent in the good direction on game-day. So I have to lean in and trust my team, no one really knows what it looks like but we're all in this together,” says Wallace, who competes as a sprint runner.

    Both Stockwell and Wallace spoke at a teleconference representing Team Toyota. 

    Dedra DeLilli, a group manager for Olympic and Paralympic marketing for Toyota in North America, also joined the call.  

    She says the one-year delay could end up helping Toyota's sponsorship goals.

    “I think some of our immediate plans had to change... and one of the fundamental changes that we made in general was planning both Beijing and Tokyo together. So trying to think about ways that we can use, reuse, edit some of the content that we are going to be developing.

    "I think the advantage for us as a sponsor is that we are now going to have this continuous platform to tell the story with only a few months between the Paralympic Games in Tokyo and the beginning of the Olympic Games in Beijing."

    DeLilli also says that there will be a first for USA House in Tokyo.

    "We are also working with the USOPC to help ensure USA House remains open through the duration of the Paralympic Games. This will be the first time in history that there will be an ongoing open USA House to cater to the needs of Team Toyota, Team USA, all Paralympic athletes in the United States.” 

    Stockwell says "Toyota’s dedication to just helping support the athletes through Tokyo 2021, it kind of makes it that much easier. Here we are one year out again but here we are and it will be worth the wait.”

    Written by Greer Wilson

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