Organizers in Japan Wednesday unveiled a cherry blossom themed torch that will carry the Olympic flame from Athens to Tokyo in a relay set to start in exactly one year.
As the centrepiece for the Tokyo 2020 torch relay, the pink-gold 1.2 kg and 710 cm torch features five sakura petals cut in its head to resemble the five Olympic rings. Flames will burn from each petal of the favourite flower of Japan.
Torch designer Tokujin Yoshioka said he was inspired by children’s drawings of cherry blossoms as he created his concept.
The relay route and the number of torchbearers has yet to be disclosed by officials, but the torch will be carried by “many” across Japan and “light our way to the future,” according to a statement.
“The five flames generated from the petal unite at the centre of the torch, lighting the way with greater brilliance,” the Tokyo 2020 organizers said.
“A number of technological innovations have been deployed in the combustion section that lights the torch, including catalytic reaction.”
The torch is designed to be lightweight, ergonomic and easier to handle. Tactile features are designed to allow it to be held correctly by those visually impaired.
“The torch is simply created for everyone.”
The materials to be used in the construction of the torches have a significant connection with those impacted by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.
“The manufacture of the torch embodies the spirit of recovery and consideration for sustainability. Aluminium construction waste from temporary housing built in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake was used to create it, transforming materials that witnessed the rebuilding of shattered lives into a symbol of peace. This will convey to the world the extent to which the affected areas are recovering, one step at a time.” – Tokyo 2020
Along with the torch, an emblem representing the torch relay was unveiled Wednesday to help with branding for the high-profile event. The red and gold emblem has three rectangular shapes arranged to depict the dynamic flames of a torch. A “ukiyo-e” woodblock printing technique known as “fukibokashi” was used to produce graduated tones across two colours.
On Tuesday, organizers announced that NTT and Nippon Life have joined Toyota and Coca Cola as Presenting Partners of the Torch Relay.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will run from July 24 to August 9 next year.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.