Japan's Supercentenarian Olympic Torchbearer
On Thursday, March 25th, 2021, the Summer 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games officially kicked off with the commencement of the Olympic torch relay. Many notable Japanese athletes, celebrities, and organizations will participate in this iconic tradition, which dates back to the 1936 summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany and signals the start of this year's games on July 23rd. Among the torchbearers is three-time winter Olympian Sho Endo and Gaku MC, Japanese rapper and musician.
Although people may recognize many of the relay participants, some have likely never heard of Ms. Kane Tanaka, a 118 year old grandmother from Shime in Fukuoka prefecture. As the oldest living person in the world, Ms. Tanaka will carry the Olympic torch in May, seated in a wheelchair guided by her family. Even though she will be seated for the majority of her leg, she is determined to walk the final steps to pass the torch to the next runner.
The supercentenarian has survived cancer twice and has lived through two global pandemics. "It's great she reached that age and she can still keep up an active lifestyle -- we want other people to see that and feel inspired, and not to think age is a barrier," said her grandson Eiji Tanaka.
Learn more about Ms. Tanaka below!
Good luck to Ms. Tanaka!
Follow the torch's journey below!