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【Reports】4 Years to GO!! Commemorative Event Held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Office

With exactly four years to go to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, a countdown event, “Everyone’s Tokyo 2020: 4 Years to GO!!” was held on August 25th at the square in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Office building. The event was held to boost momentum toward the Games.

“It Is Only with Success of the Paralympic Games that We Will Be Able to Speak of the Success of the 2020 Olympics”

Children help make the emblem

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who gave a speech as host, emphasized, “It is only with success of the Paralympic Games that we will be able to speak of the success of the 2020 Olympics with pride.” She added, “The Rio Paralympic Games (opening on September 7) is an exciting opportunity for witnessing people with physical impairments overcome their respective challenges and shine brilliantly as athletes. I hope that the Rio Games will provide an opportunity for people to realize that there is a depth and enjoyment that can be found in the Paralympics that differ from the Olympic Games. I would like you to find para-sports and Olympians whom you would like to root for, and follow them through to the 2020 Paralympic Games.”

The main event at the Tokyo Government Office building was recreating a giant Tokyo Paralympics logo at the square. Around 100 elementary and middle school students from around Tokyo were joined by Asao Tokolo, the designer of the logo, as well as women’s long jump athlete Mami Tani, who has competed in three Paralympic Games, and Monika Seryu, who will be in Rio for the canoe sprint event.

The motif of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics logos comprises 45 square pieces of three kinds (15 each), which interconnect to form a traditional Japanese checkered “Ichimatsu” pattern. The 45 square pieces moved in the event to transform the Tokyo Olympics logo to the Tokyo Paralympics logo. The event was an opportunity to feel the message—diversity and harmony—that was placed in the logos by designer Tokolo, and, at the same time, experience “staying connected while recognizing differences.”

Exhibits Communicate the Powerful Impact of 22 Paralympic Sports and Dynamism of Athletes at 22 Stations on the Oedo Subway Line

The day also marked the start of a special exhibit at Toei Metropolitan Subway Oedo Line stations. Entitled “No Limits Special—Oedo Line Station Stadium (Hosted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government),” the exhibits introduce the appeal of Paralympic events and athletes using LED panels, projection mapping and 3D displays. The exhibits at 22 Oedo Line stations express the powerful impact of the 22 para-sports that will be part of Tokyo 2020 as well as the dynamism of athletes.

For example, panel displays of all 22 Tokyo Paralympic Games sports are featured as the Overall Exhibit in the concourse on Level B1 of Tochomae Station. Meanwhile, at Tsukishima Station, a three-dimensional display using mannequins is on exhibit. It recreates a scene from goalball, the para-sport for visually-impaired athletes. The exhibits will be on display until September 21 (Wed.) together with a “stamp rally” in which participants visit exhibits and collect “stamps” for a chance to win a prize.

With the objective of promoting understanding toward Paralympic events as well as fostering momentum toward the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has been hosting its “No Limits Challenge” program, which provides opportunities to experience Paralympics sports, at various locations in Tokyo since 2015. The subway exhibits are a special version of this program.

The “No Limits” portion of the program name expresses the unlimited possibilities of para-athletes and the idea that the functions that a person has should be utilized to the full instead of his/her thinking about what cannot be done. Meanwhile the “Challenge” in the name is hoped to remind people that the it is an event that people can participate in.

Yasushi Yamawaki, President of the Japan Paralympic Committee, welcomes the special exhibition and said, at the opening ceremony, “Having the athletes compete with dynamism amidst the roaring cheers of Paralympics fans who pack a venue would be the easiest way for people to experience the success of the 2020 Paralympic Games. Even if they know about the Paralympics, less than 5% have actually seen an event. The key to the success of the Paralympic Games is to raise awareness by communicating the appeal of the para-sports and para-athletes to as many people as possible. This event is a wonderful program that is linked directly to such efforts toward resolution of the challenge.”

While one could say that there are still four more years until the opening of the Tokyo Paralympics, one could also say that there are only four more years left. The countdown to achieving the goal of filling all venues to capacity has also begun.


Tani and other Paralympians introduced events to Governor Koike

text&photos by Kyoko Hoshino,Parasapo