By STEPHEN WADE, AP Sports activities Author
TOKYO (AP) — Seiko Hashimoto appeared in seven Olympics — 4 Winter Olympics and three Summer time Olympics. In keeping with historian Dr. Invoice Mallon, her seven appearances is essentially the most by any “multi-season” athlete within the video games.
Hashimoto was set to make much more historical past on Thursday in Japan, the place ladies are nonetheless uncommon within the boardrooms and positions of political energy.
The 56-year-old Hashimoto, in line with broadly circulated media reviews, was anticipated to be named president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee. She was to be confirmed by the chief board on Thursday and substitute 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese prime minister who was pressured to resign final week after making sexist feedback about ladies.
Primarily, he mentioned ladies speak an excessive amount of.
Hashimoto has been serving because the Olympic minister within the cupboard of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. She additionally holds a portfolio coping with gender equality and ladies’s empowerment.
She competed in three Summer time Olympics (’88, ’92 and ’96) in biking and in 4 Winter Olympics (’84, ’88, ’92 and ’94) in speedskating. She received a bronze medal — her solely medal — in 1992 in at 1,500 meters in speedskating.
Hashimoto is tied to the Olympics in some ways. She was born in Hokkaido in northern Japan simply 5 days earlier than the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Her title “Seiko” comes from “seika,”which interprets as Olympic flame in English.
In keeping with broadly circulated reviews in Japan, Hashimoto was reluctant to take the job and was one in all three remaining candidates thought of by a variety committee headed by 85-year-old Fujio Mitarai of the digital camera firm Canon.
The choice committee met for 3 consecutive days, a rushed appointment with the postponed Olympics opening in simply over 5 months in the midst of a pandemic and going through myriad issues.
Polls present about 80% of Japanese need the Olympics canceled or postponed once more. There’s concern about bringing ten of hundreds of athletes and others into Japan, which has managed the coronavirus higher than most nations.
There’s additionally opposition to the hovering prices.
The official value is $15.4 billion, although a number of authorities audits say the value is not less than $25 billion, the costliest Summer time Olympics on document in line with a College of Oxford examine.
Naming a girl might be breakthrough for gender equality in Japan, the place females are under-represented in boardrooms and in politics. Japan ranks 121st out of 153 nations on the World Financial Discussion board’s annual gender equality rating.
Mori, earlier than stepping down, tried to supply the job final week to 84-year-old Saburo Kawabuchi, a former head of the nation’s soccer federation. However reviews of the behind-closed-door deal had been broadly criticized by social media, on Japanese speak reveals, and in newspaper reviews.
Kawabuchi rapidly withdrew from additional consideration.
Hashimoto will not be with out her critics. A Japanese journal in 2014 ran images of her embracing determine skater Daisuke Takahashi at a celebration in the course of the Sochi Olympics, suggesting it was sexual harassment. She later apologized, and Takahashi mentioned he didn’t really feel harassed.
Two different former Olympians had been additionally reported to have been within the working for Mori’s job: Yasuhiro Yamashita, the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee who received gold in judo in 1984, and Mikako Kotani, who received two bronze medals in synchronized swimming on the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Kotani is the sports activities director for the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee. That committee’s management is dominated by males, who make up 80% of the chief board.
Japan started to roll out vaccines on Wednesday, a important transfer that may enhance the Olympics. It’s a number of months behind Britain and america and different nations.
Widespread vaccination is unlikely in Japan when the Olympics open on July 23 with 11,000 athletes, adopted by the Paralympics on Aug. 24 with 4,400 athletes. The plan is to maintain the athletes in a “bubble” on the Athletes Village, at venues and at coaching areas. The IOC has mentioned it won’t require “members” to be vaccinated, nevertheless it encouraging it.
Along with the athletes, tens of hundreds of officers, media, sponsors and broadcasters may also need to enter Japan. A lot of them will function outdoors the “bubble” in an Olympics that’s be pushed by tv and the billions the IOC receives from promoting broadcast rights.
The primary problem for Hashimoto might be pulling off the torch relay that begins on March 25 in northeastern Japan. It’ll criss-cross the nation with about 10,000 runners, and finish on the opening ceremony in Tokyo.
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