Former Olympic Athlete Hashimoto Chosen as Head of Tokyo 2020

Published February 18th, 2021 - 09:18 GMT
Photo: BNA
Photo: BNA

Japan’s Seiko Hashimoto, a woman who has competed in seven Olympics, said on Thursday she had been chosen as president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing committee, replacing a man who resigned after setting off a furore with sexist remarks.

Yoshiro Mori, 83 and a former prime minister, resigned as Tokyo 2020 president last week after saying women talk too much, a fresh blow to an event already marred by an unprecedented delay of a year due to the coronavirus pandemic and strong public opposition, Reuters reported.

Hashimoto announced her selection shortly after submitting her resignation as cabinet minister to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who encouraged her to make the Olympics successful.

“I, Seiko Hashimoto, was selected as head of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee,” Hashimoto told a meeting in which she was chosen as the new chief.

“As I’m taking on such a grave responsibility... I feel I need to brace myself.”

Hashimoto faces a raft of tough issues, including taking the helm of one of the world’s biggest sporting events with less than half a year left until its start as well as making sure athletes and officials are kept safe from the coronavirus.

Born days before Japan hosted the 1964 summer Games, Hashimoto took part in four Winter Olympics as a speed skater and three Summer Olympics as a cyclist.

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