The Olympic flag arrived in Japan on Wednesday with Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and the Japanese Olympic delegation returning from Brazil, as Tokyo looks forward to hosting the next Olympic Summer Games in 2020.
The flag, bearing the symbol of the five interlocking rings, arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on charter flights with the delegation, which bagged a record 41 medals at the Aug. 5-21 games in Rio de Janeiro.
Koike, who received the flag from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach at the closing ceremony of the Rio Games at Maracana Stadium on Sunday, waved the flag as she emerged from one of the planes.
From the other aircraft, delegation captain Saori Yoshida, the silver medalist in the women’s 53-kg freestyle wrestling competition in Rio, disembarked along with Japan’s flag bearer and decathlete Keisuke Ushiro holding the Japanese Olympic Committee flag.
“I am pleased to bring back this flag to Tokyo after more than 50 years,” Koike said at a welcome ceremony at the airport, referring to the 1964 Summer Games hosted by Tokyo. “With this flag as the symbol, we will stand at the forefront to foster momentum (toward 2020).”
Yoshida said she expects the “excitement of Rio to come back during the Tokyo Olympics.”
Plans are underway for a nationwide flag exhibit tour to generate enthusiasm for the 2020 Olympics.
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the flag will be stored at its headquarters until the Paralympic flag arrives from Rio de Janeiro in September.
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