TOKYO -- Former Olympic swimmer Hanae Ito, a public relations official for the 2020 Tokyo Games, visited The Mainichi Newspapers' head office building in the capital on July 23 to see a special display set up ahead of the two-year countdown until the global sporting event the next day.
Ito, 33, a senior Engagement and PR Planning Team project manager in the Communications Section of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, praised the "Takebashi virtual stadium" display set up in the Palaceside Building near Takebashi Station on the Tokyo Metro subway line.
"I felt impressed when seeing the display. The decorations will catch people's attention," she said, adding that she liked the diving board the most.
The "virtual stadium" includes a winners' podium, a diving board, a running track starting point, and a giant newspaper front page in which people can pose.
Noting that only two years remained until the games, Ito said she thinks that the committee needs to promote Tokyo 2020 to the public more, using the event's mascots and other items. "Each official in the committee is working to ensure we have no regrets," she said.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Ito represented Japan in backstroke, while she swam freestyle in the 2012 London Games. During her competitive career, she strictly focused on her training, starting as early as two years ahead of the games. After retiring as an athlete, she started teaching swimming to children, hoping to encourage youngsters to enjoy the sport. She wants to boost the number of competitors, spectators and supporters of sports in general, while noting that the location was an important factor.
"This is not just going to be the Olympic Games, but the Olympic Games in Tokyo," she said.
(By Richi Tanaka, staff writer)