Tokyo 2020 has today unveiled the key items that will be used during the victory ceremonies at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2021 during an emotive ceremony in the city.
With just 50 days remaining until the curtain is finally lifted on the Olympic Games, the historic event at the Ariake Arena saw the highly-anticipated reveal of the podiums, theme music, costumes worn by medal bearers and medal trays that will be used when athletes are awarded for their achievements from July 2021.
The venue, which will play host to the volleyball and wheelchair basketball tournaments this summer, provided a stunning backdrop to the ceremony that was live-streamed to a global audience.
“At the Tokyo 2020 Games, there will be a total of 878 Victory Ceremonies; 339 during the Olympic Games and 539 during the Paralympic Games,” Tokyo 2020 President HASHIMOTO said. “I hope, when the athletes are on top of the podiums, and with the whole world watching, that in these moments we can truly appreciate the value of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in this era.”
“I look forward in earnest to the outstanding performances of all athletes, and would like everyone in Japan to join in uplifting them as we endeavour through these challenging times together,” she added.
Among those to oversee proceedings was boxer MURATA Ryota, a gold medallist at London 2012 and record-breaking swimmer IWASAKI Kyoko, who was just 14-years-old when she scooped gold at Barcelona 1992. They were joined on stage alongside five-time Paralympic swimming gold medallist KAWAI Junichi and OBINATA Kuniko, a multiple Para alpine skiing medallist who competed at every Paralympic Winter Games from 1994 to 2010.
“Standing on the podium versus what I feel now, hearing the music, being blind, is very big,” Kawai explained. “I had goosebumps. I’m not an athlete anymore and I won’t have the experience of going up on the podium [anymore], but hearing that music makes me remise the moments of standing on the podium.
“Being on the podium was a moment that changed my life. I want to tell them [athletes] that their dreams can come true. That’s a message I’d like to convey.”
More than just being on top of a podium: it’s the summit of a lifetime
In an Olympic and Paralympic first, the podiums that will be used at Tokyo 2020 have been created using recycled household plastic waste, donated by the people across Japan to illustrate how a sustainable society can be realised.
Over the course of nine months, 24.5 tonnes of recycled plastic – the equivalent of 400,000 bottles of laundry detergent – were collected to create the 98 podiums used during the Games.
The shining symbols embedded in the podiums were also made from waste, created using aluminium that was recycled from temporary housing provided in the regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
“I am so proud of the design and its concept, rooted in the word ‘connect'”, said designer TOKOLO Asao, who also designed the Tokyo 2020 emblem. “I hope this project serves as a baton that runs toward the future.”
Victory ceremony theme music
The strong melody and soaring chorus that will play as athletes are presented with their medals was composed by SATO Naoki, one of Japan’s leading composers, and aims to make athletes from all Olympic and Paralympic committees feel at ease during the ceremonies.
Featuring a variety of musical styles, the arrangement brought together 144 leading studio musicians and members of Japan’s leading symphony orchestras with a further 112 string and chorus members contributing to the emotional and suspenseful score.
Sato said the music is designed “to accompany the moment when people around the world unite in praise and celebration of the athletes on the podium.”
Costumes and medal trays
The costumes used at the victory ceremonies were based on a concept of modern ceremonial dress and incorporate traditional kimono production techniques including “kasane” (layering), “ori” (weaving), “musubi” (knots), and “so-me” (dyeing).
Designed with cooling technology so the wearer can withstand the heat and humidity of a Tokyo summer, the costumes, to be worn by volunteers who will carry the medals and escort athletes at the ceremonies, were made from environmentally-friendly recycled fibres.
The trays on which the famous gold, silver and bronze Tokyo 2020 medals will sit, was produced using recyclable thermoplastic polymer and bear a traditional Japanese fan motif. The base, coloured indigo blue – the deepest of the Tokyo 2020 core graphic colours – harmonises with the podiums and costumes.
Up-and-coming Japanese fashion director YAMAGUCHI Sota, who designed both the costumes and medal tray, said: “Blending the emotional aspect of Japanese clothing with the practical design of Western clothing has allowed me to create comfortable and lightweight formal wear. In a nod to forward-facing Japanese craftsmanship, I engaged craftspeople and factories across Japan, using eco-friendly materials to produce only the quantity needed in the most efficient manner possible.”