Dates of Olympic Flame Lighting and Handover Ceremony Revealed
Tokyo, 12 September 2018 – The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
(Tokyo 2020), the International Olympic Committee and the Hellenic Olympic Committee announced today
the dates for the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony and Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony that will form
part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay.
The Flame Lighting Ceremony will take place in Ancient Olympia, home of the ancient Games in Greece,
on 12 March 2020. At the ancient Temple of Hera, a modern High Priestess will ignite the Olympic flame
in the traditional way by using the rays of the sun and a parabolic mirror. The Greek leg of the Torch Relay
will then run for 8 days in Greece until 19 March 2020.
Following this, the ceremony to hand over the flame to Tokyo 2020 representatives will be held at the
Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 19 March 2020.
The flame will then make its way to Japan, arriving on 20 March 2020, and will be displayed for six days
in Miyagi prefecture, Iwate prefecture and Fukushima prefecture in that order, commemorating the
earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region in March 2011. The Olympic Torch Relay will
commence on 26 March under the theme of “Hope Lights Our Way”, taking in all of Japan’s 47 prefectures
and aiming to inspire the Japanese nation to unite around messages of supporting, accepting and
encouraging one another.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said, “I would like to thank the IOC leadership including President
Bach and John Coates for their kind understanding of our requests regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic
Torch Relay. Thanks to their great support, we will be able to hold a torch relay lasting 121 days, including
transit days, and exhibit the Olympic Flame in the affected regions in Tohoku ahead of the grand start. I
would also like to express my sincere appreciation for the cooperation of the Hellenic Olympic Committee
in reaching this decision on the schedule of the torch relay.
“The entire schedule of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay has now been decided. Each prefecture has
established its own committee which will formulate the details of the route. We have asked them to come up with routes that highlight the unique features of their prefectures, and to select runners who embody
the spirit of the torch relay.
“I am looking forward to the arrival in Japan of the Olympic Flame, which will be lit in the ancient city of
Olympia in Greece. In conjunction with all 47 prefectures across Japan, we will continue to prepare for
what we believe will be a great Olympic Torch Relay.”
IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said, “The lighting of the Olympic flame in Ancient
Olympia is a moment of great significance for all of us that love the Olympic Games. It not only signals to
the world that the next edition of the Games is nearly upon us but it is also the start of a journey that sees
the flame light up its historical homeland and the host nation. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay lighting
will have a special significance in 2020, as we enter the tenth year since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami
so badly affected the Tohoku area of Japan. We thank the Hellenic Olympic Committee for their support
in organising the lighting during this period.”
He continued, “At the IOC, we fully support Tokyo 2020’s initiative to display the flame in the affected
Prefectures when it arrives in Japan. We hope that this symbolic act will underline the Olympic Movement’s
support for the citizens of these regions, as well as allowing them to show the watching world the progress
that they have made in rebuilding their lives and inspiring the local children through the Olympic values.
The Olympic Torch Relay will then carry the flame around all of Japan’s prefectures bringing the Olympics
and its values to the entire country. We very much look forward to seeing Japan embrace this once in a
Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos said, “We are very excited that on 12th March
2020 the Hellenic Olympic Committee will be hosting the Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame on the
occasion of the Tokyo Olympic Games. This event will actually signal the beginning of the Olympic Games
and it will be staged in their cradle, Ancient Olympia, the starting point of the Flame’s long and surely
breathtaking, journey to the Far East. The HOC will make sure that the Olympic Flame will reach as many
places as possible within our country so that its glamour and warmth illuminates people all over Greece.
“We are all the more happy, as the Japanese people have embraced the Olympic Games with fervor and
enthusiasm, which will be assuredly reflected in the Flame’s journey. The Greek people looks forward to
welcoming you in Greece in March 2020.”
Schedule of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay
12 March Lighting Ceremony in Olympia, Greece
12 – 19 March Greek leg of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay (The route to be
announced by HOC in due course)
19 March Handover Ceremony in Athens, Greece
20 March Flame arrives at Matsushima Airfield, Miyagi, Japan
20 – 21 March Flame on display in Miyagi Prefecture
22 – 23 March Flame on display in Iwate Prefecture
24 – 25 March Flame on display in Fukushima Prefecture
26 March-24 July Japanese leg of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay starts from
Fukushima, taking in all 47 prefectures of Japan
*All dates are in local time
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