20 August 2012 – 500,000 Supporters Line Tokyo Streets to Cheer Olympic Champions
One week after the Olympic flame was extinguished in London, the Olympic Spirit was still burning in Tokyo, where a crowd estimated at 500,000 turned up in downtown Tokyo to welcome home 71 Japanese medallists after the London 2012 Games.
The crowds roared with adoration as the Olympic heroes paraded through the capital’s world-famous Ginza district, demonstrating the Japanese enthusiasm for sport that underpins Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Japan’s first-ever heroes’ parade of Olympic medallists was organised to express the nation’s gratitude for the Japanese Olympians’ performance in London, where they earned a record-breaking 7 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze for a total of 38 medals (counting teams as one.)
A huge Kohei Uchimura Fan, Sayori Okazaki (15), said: “The parade was amazing! I watched the entire Olympics, even when it was past midnight! I would love for Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympics! I will support the Games in any way I can!”
Another onlooker, Shozan Oota (18), said “This parade was wonderful with so many people!
I didn’t miss a single minute of the London Olympic Games. It will be awesome if Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympics. I’m a track runner myself so I’ll try my best to compete in 2020!”
Tokyo 2020 and Japanese Olympic Committee President (JOC) Tsunekazu Takeda said:
“The heroes’ parade was an extraordinary display of Japan’s passion and the remarkable power of sport to unite and inspire. Japan is an incredible sporting nation and holds its athletes – Olympians in particular – in very high esteem. The Japanese Olympic Team’s2 / 2 unprecedented performance in London makes us even more determined to deliver a dynamic celebration in the heart of the world’s most forward-thinking city.”
Tokyo 2020, rooted in a Japanese culture that deeply respects time-honoured traditions and values, yet is being renewed constantly by the latest trends and technologies, promises to keep Olympism relevant in modern society.
Tokyo’s Ginza district, with its fascinating mixture of centuries-old establishments alongside boutiques offering the world’s leading goods and trendy fashions, exemplifies Japan’s unrivalled combination of tradition and innovation,which Tokyo 2020 will leverage to deliver an exhilarating experience for athletes, the Olympic Family and spectators alike.