POSTED: August 14th 2012
Tokyo 2020: Japanese Olympians fired up to bring home the Games in 2020
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
August 14 – After a super showing at London 2012 Team Japan is ablaze with the Olympic Spirit for the bid to bring the 2020 summer Games back to Tokyo.
Team Japan brought home a record 38 medals from 13 competitions at the London Games and came home all pledging their support behind the Tokyo campaign.
Masato Mizuno, Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) Vice President and bid ceo, said, "I am proud of the Japanese athletes' performances in London.
“Japan's Olympic Team is fully behind Tokyo 2020 and we hope their stellar performances in London will promote the Bid and show the Japanese passion for the Olympic Movement to the world.
“Sport has the power to unite our nation, and no event more so than the pinnacle of competition: the Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Olympians are highly respected in Japan so the complete endorsement of the bid effort after the fruitful medal haul has had a big effect on public opinion as well.
A number of the medallists issued statements of support:
Gold and silver medallist in gymnastics, Kohei Uchimura, said: "The Olympics only take place once every four years. In London I experienced the wonderful feeling of competing at this level. Let's host the 2020 Games in Tokyo!"
Three time gold medallist, Saori Yoshida, said: "Everyone in Japan will be excited if we host the Olympics, and it's a positive thing that the world will pay close attention to us. In this respect, it would be fantastic if Tokyo hosts the 2020 Games."
Gold medal boxer, Ryota Murata, who earned the first boxing championship in 48 years said: "I will do anything I can to help Tokyo earn the rights to host the 2020 Games, as it will serve as the driving force for Japan's future development."
Judo gold medallist, Kaori Matsumoto, said: "My mother had never left our hometown, but I promised her I would take her to the Olympics. With this Olympics and this gold medal, I've fulfilled that promise. I want to encourage all children to pursue their dreams, and I know hosting the 2020 Games in Tokyo would inspire our young athletes!"
Silver medal weightlifter, Hiromi Miyake, was the first woman to ever win a medal in the sport, said: "I hope the younger generation will increasingly pursue weightlifting, and it would be great to see them put on a strong showing in front of our people in 2020. I would love for our country to host the Games again!"
Fencer, Yuki Ota, a member of Japan’s first fencing team to medal said: "It was always my dream to compete at the Olympics, and I am extremely proud to have competed in three of them. I'll cherish forever the time I spent here with my teammates. I think it's my destiny to raise the profile of fencing in Japan, something that would no doubt get a boost if Tokyo can host the 2020 Games."
Silver medallist in swimming as well as squad captain, Takeshi Matsuda, said: "I love the Olympics and know from experience how wonderful it is to take part in them. I sincerely hope Tokyo can host the 2020 Olympic Games."
Silver badminton doubles partners, Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa, earned the country’s first medal in the sport, Fujii said: "For me, the Olympics is a stage where I can demonstrate my gratitude to everyone who has supported and encouraged me along the way.
“This is the first time I've competed in the Games, and I spoke with other athletes and we all agreed how great it would be if Tokyo hosts the 2020 Games. I hope to be involved in some capacity."
Kakiiwa added: "It will be a completely different experience for us in Tokyo. It would be amazing to have the entire country united behind you right there."
Bronze medal hammer thrower, Koji Murofushi, said, "People from Tohoku tell me all the time how much the athletes inspire them. I am confident Japan will be united and moved by the Olympic passion if we host the 2020 Games in Tokyo. I really hope we can bring the Games to Japan."
And bronze medal archery team member, Miki Kanie said: "Let's bring the country together again with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games!"
Tokyo is running against Istanbul to host the 2020 summer Olympics. The final decision will be voted at Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 7, 2013 during the IOC session.
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Laura Walden ()
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