Tokyo 2020: National Health and Sports Day inspires the city to come out and play
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
October 9 – Japan celebrated their most popular holiday over this past weekend and the capital was alive with sports celebrations to inspire people to get up and move.
National Health and Sports Day, which is called “Taiiku no hi” in Japanese is actually October 8th and was estalished in 1966 two years after the Tokyo Games opening ceremony as a commemoration to the Olympics.
"Tokyo 1964 Games left a great legacy to Japan and Japanese people, and the Health and Sports Day is part of it,” said Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC member and head of both the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and the bid.
“This day promotes sports and an active lifestyle to young people. That's why we want to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games again in Japan, to inspire a new generation with the Olympic Values and build a new legacy for the next 50 years."
This year the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and numerous National Federations worked together to organize a big sports fest at the Ajinomoto National Training Center.
The turnout was very good and over 10,000 youth and adults were able to meet with 77 Olympians, Paralympians, and athletes who have participated at both summer and winter editions of the Games.
On Saturday, Sea Forest Island was the location for the tree planting ceremony that will one day be an 88 hectare forest and reconnect the city with the sea. The island is also the planned venue for the Rowing, Canoe-Kayak (sprint), Equestrian (cross-country), Sailing, Golf and Cycling (mountain bike) according to the Tokyo 2020 bid plan.
This event gathered kids, Tokyo executive board member architect Tadao Ando, and three Olympic medallists from London 2012: 3-time wrestling Olympic gold medallist Kaori Icho, women's 100m backstroke and 4x100m medley relay bronze medallist Aya Terakawa and men's 60kg Greco-Roman wrestling bronze medallist Ryutaro Matsumoto.
The Olympians were ever enthusiastic about the bid, Icho said, "Let's grow many trees at this planned Tokyo 2020 venue, the Sea Forest!"
Terakawa added, "I really would love for everyone to experience the excitement and inspiration that the Olympics will give us."
Tokyo is bidding against Istanbul and Madrid to host the summer Games. The final decision will be voted at the Buenos Aires IOC session on September 7th, 2013.
Keywords · Tokyo 2020 · Sea Forest · Tokyo Metropolitan Government · Japanese Olympic Committee · Ministry of Education · Culture · Sports · Science and Technology · Tsunekazu Takeda · Kaori Icho · Aya Terakawa · Ryutaro Matsumoto
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