Celebrated Female Olympian Appointed Head of Tokyo Olympic…

by akoloy

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee appointed certainly one of Japan’s most-celebrated feminine Olympians as its new chief, after her predecessor stepped down over his sexist remarks.

Seiko Hashimoto — a seven-time Olympian who was later elected to parliament five times as a member for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party — was named to the put up at a Tokyo 2020 board assembly Thursday. Hashimoto earlier within the day resigned from her positions as minister for the Olympics and for gender equality to satisfy necessities for the brand new job.

“We should make the Olympics, which begins in 5 months, a protected and reassuring occasion,” Hashimoto mentioned. “Measures towards the coronavirus are the highest precedence.”

Named after the Japanese phrase used for the Olympic flame, Hashimoto, 56, is a former Olympic velocity skater and observe bike owner. She might be changed as minister by Tamayo Marukawa, who has beforehand served as Olympics Minister, public broadcaster NHK mentioned, retaining the variety of girls in Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s 20-member cupboard at two.

One of Hashimoto’s most urgent duties might be profitable again the boldness of sponsors, together with the nation’s largest firm Toyota Motor Corp., which raised considerations after former Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori disparaged girls by saying they discuss an excessive amount of in board conferences. The 83-year-old Mori, a former prime minister with a historical past of gaffes, stepped down final week.

“For too lengthy, sexism has discovered snug shelter within the Olympic motion,” mentioned Jules Boykoff, a professor at Pacific University Oregon and creator of a political historical past of the Olympics, including {that a} girl has solely as soon as headed an area organizing committee — on the 2004 Athens Games.

The new put up could possibly be certainly one of Hashimoto’s most tough assignments, coming simply 5 months earlier than the opening ceremony. The Summer Games has already been pushed again by a 12 months as a result of coronavirus pandemic — marking the primary postponement because the trendy Olympics started.

Opinion surveys present little help among the many Japanese public for staging a serious world sports activities occasion throughout a lethal pandemic in a rustic that solely started its vaccine roll out Wednesday.

While Hashimoto got here below a shadow after allegations she had sexually harassed a preferred male ice skater in 2014, she went on to be appointed to the cupboard in 2019.

From Seika to Seiko

Hashimoto was born to a farming household on the northern island of Hokkaido in October 1964, 5 days earlier than the opening of the final Japanese summer time Olympics. Her father named her Seiko, from the Japanese phrase for the Olympic flame, “seika.”

She grew up pondering she was born to be an Olympic athlete, whereas studying to skate on a frozen lake on the household farm.

Hashimoto boasts a formidable Olympic resume, beginning along with her first look within the Winter Games in 1984 in Sarajevo. Four years later, she competed in Calgary as a velocity skater and within the Summer Olympics in Seoul as a biking sprinter.

Her solely Olympic medal got here in 1992 when she gained a bronze within the 1,500-meter velocity skating competitors in Albertville, an achievement celebrated all through Japan. She adopted that up by competing in the summertime Olympics in Barcelona in biking.

Her athletic profession was carefully adopted by Japanese media, particularly in sports activities every day newspapers fashionable with salarymen commuting to their jobs. A 12 months after competing within the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, she was elected to Japan’s higher home of parliament as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Hashimoto’s closing Olympics got here a 12 months after turning into a lawmaker, when she competed within the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta as a biking sprinter — placing collectively probably the most distinctive lists of accomplishments amongst Olympians.

“I need the organizing committee to verify the good imaginative and prescient of the Tokyo Games — unity in variety,” Hashimoto mentioned. “I need to create a legacy of constructing a society that accepts individuals no matter gender, incapacity, race or sexual orientation.”

–With help from Yuki Hagiwara.

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