Olympics

Coca-Cola seeks "group runner" for 2020 torch relay

Kyodo

Coca-Cola (Japan) Co. said Monday it is looking for a group of up to 10 people to participate together in the torch relay of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when it opens its application process next week.

According to Coca-Cola, members of the group will each run a specific distance during their leg of the 121-day event next year. The “group runner” will be selected based on videos applicants upload to Twitter in which they film themselves taking up one of 33 challenges listed by the company.

Among the challenges are swimming backstroke while balancing a plastic bottle on their forehead and passing a soccer ball among themselves without letting it touch the ground. There is no limit to the number of videos applicants can upload.

The group runner will be recommended to the games’ organizing committee by a panel of judges, including soccer player Ritsu Doan and marathon runner Suguru Osako.

“It will be more fun if club members and friends apply together,” Doan said. “I think it will be a cherished memory.”

Coca-Cola, one of four 2020 torch relay sponsors, will open its application window on June 17. The sponsors will also hold individual applications for those wishing to become torch bearers, as will the local organizers in each prefecture.

About 10,000 torch bearers will participate in the Japan leg of the Tokyo 2020 relay, which will pass through all 47 prefectures of the country and feature major Japanese landmarks including World Heritage sites and areas devastated by recent natural disasters.

It will commence on March 26, 2020, in Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan, and the flame will make its entrance at Tokyo’s New National Stadium on July 24 during the opening ceremony.