Jon D. Gaede | Black Voice News

Tokyo – In the midst of a pandemic and surge in COVID cases, the Olympic flame completes the journey through the 47 prefectures of the nation of Japan in 121 days. Prefectures are similar to states in the U.S.

Clutched in the hands of its citizens, the torch brings hope and when ignited, it signals the rebirth of sport and the pure joy of athletic competition.

Delayed by one year, these Olympic games will test the world’s best athletes in unfamiliar ways. Travel, training, isolation, and daily testing, reflect some of the changes that make the games perhaps the most unusual in modern history. 

Most athletes have not competed during the past year and face the challenge of refined training adjustments in order to achieve a peak performance.

Japan’s Olympic Committee has also faced many challenges. The Tokyo Games Organizing Committee is now under the stewardship of former Olympian Seiko Hashimoto. 

Naomi Osaka walking to light the Olympic Cauldron during opening ceremony. Photo by Jon D. Gaede

Tennis player Naomi Osaka, born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, was honored to be chosen as the last carrier of the flame. Opening night, she lit the Olympic cauldron before  millions of viewers who watched from all over the world Friday night.

When the Olympic torch arrived at the Tokyo National Stadium Friday night, it also carried the hopes and aspirations of 11,000 athletes who will compete in 339 events. 

Opening ceremonies during the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020(21). Photo by Jon D. Gaede

The dreams of every Olympic athlete demand they jump higher, run faster and last longer than their opponent, in pursuit of  Olympic gold.

Jon D. Gaede is a reporter and photographer covering the 2020(21) Olympics for the IE Voice and Black Voice News. He has been covering the Olympics for the past four competitions.

Header photo by Jon D. Gaede