Oldest Living Person in the World Will Carry the Olympic Torch in Tokyo Olympics

kane tanaka

Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest living person at 117, will remain the torchbearer at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games set to take place next year.

Takana will carry the torch in the town of Shime in Fukuoka Prefecture, which will only happen if the Tokyo Games does not postpone the May 11, 2021 plan, according to Mainichi Shimbun.


Nippon Life Insurance Co., a sponsor of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, recommended Tanaka to be a part of the torch relay on May 12, 2020. However, the International Olympic Committee decided to postpone the event amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tanaka, who will be 118 years old in 2021, would be pushed in her wheelchair by a caregiver for 200 meters (656 feet). She will also be the oldest person to hold the torch in the Olympics — beating 106-year-old Grandma Iaiá, who carried the torch in 2016, CBS reported.

Tokyo Olympic organizers have yet to confirm whether Tanaka will be in the event next year or not.

There is also a possibility that her family may not let her participate in the torch relay if she is not well on that day or if the weather is bad. She was also not informed about her participation in the Tokyo Olympics.

“When we were first approached about her doing it, we worried what might happen given her age, but we were getting worked up over nothing,” her 61-year-old grandson, Eiji, said. “We’ll be happy if the people who see her holding the torch up and looking well can think, ‘There’s hope in going on living.'”

Tanaka, born on Jan. 2, 1903 in the village of Wajiro, which is now part of Higashi Ward in Fukuoka, is the seventh of nine siblings.

She was confirmed by the Guinness World Records as the oldest living person in the world in 2019. Tanaka is only a few years away from breaking the record set by Jeanne Louise Calment as the oldest person to ever live at 122.

Feature Image via Guinness World Records

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