UPDATED 6:50 AM PT – Thursday, March 25, 2021
After nearly a year of delays, the Olympic torch begins the final leg of its journey. Early Thursday morning, Japan’s women’s national soccer team took up the flame and jogged out of Fukushima for the first part of a four-month tour across the island nation.
Before it began, however, the relay was marred by controversy as torch bearers and city officials raised concerns about coronavirus restrictions. As a result, the event had a spectator-less start.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) March 25, 2021
The President of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, Seiko Hashimoto, said that in light of all that has happened in the last year, she hopes the flame can be a symbol of hope.
“I hope that the flame of the Tokyo Olympics will become a sacred, powerful and warm light that brings hope to all those around Japan,” she stated. “And a ray of light through the darkness, which connects the path to the future.”
More than 10,000 people will take turns carrying the flame over the next 121 days while visiting each of Japan’s 47 prefectures before arriving at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo for the opening ceremony on July.
First seen at © OANN, Torch relay begins for 2020 Summer Olympics