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London Games Medalist Parade in GINZA

London Games Medalist Parade in GINZA

The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) hosted a parade in Ginza, Tokyo on the August 20th, 2012 to honor the Japanese Olympic team for winning 38 medals at the London 2012 Olympics, the most medals ever won. A total of 71 medalists including 7 gold medalists took part in the parade, smiling and waving to an estimated crowd of half a million cheering supporters packed along the streets.

This first-ever parade was held to thank the many supporters and fans of the Japanese Olympic team. Starting at 11:00am, the parade consisting of a total of 7 vehicles then made its way down the Ginza Chuo Street (about 1km from the entry point till the 8th block) for about 20 minutes. Running in front in the No. 1 open-top car were JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda and the Japanese Olympic team leader Haruki Uemura. Riding in the No. 2 car were Captain Yukifumi Murakami (Athletics) and Saori Yoshida (wrestling). In the No. 1 open-top bus were deputy team leader Seiko Hashimoto and the athletics, boxing, wrestling, weightlifting, table tennis and archery medalists while the No.2 bus carried the swimming and judo medalists. General Manager Mitsuo Tsukahara and the gymnastics and football medalists rode in the No. 3 bus while the No. 4 bus carried the remaining fencing, badminton and volleyball medalists. The No. 5 bus was a PR vehicle for Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Wearing the same red jacket and white slacks that the Japanese Olympic team wore at the Opening Ceremony in London, the Olympic medalists waved to the cheering crowd and showed off their medals to the cheering crowds along the street.

The following are comments from some of those who took part in the parade.

■Saori Yoshida (Wrestling)
"This was the first time I'm being welcomed back in a parade like this, so it felt great. I was glad to see so many fans and be able to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of them. I have made it this far thanks to their support. I'm going to work hard to achieve my next goal so I hope to have their continuing support."

■Kohei Uchimura (Gymnastics - Artistic)
"I was overwhelmed by the huge crowd. I saw a lot of colorful and glittery uchiwa (Japanese hand fan) with my name written on it. It made me feel like I'm a pop star. I don't often get the chance to meet my fans and express my appreciation in this manner, so I'd really love to take part in another parade if I win medals in the next Olympic games 4 years later in Rio de Janeiro."

■Homare Sawa (Football)
"There were many Uchimura's fans in the street. I was lucky to be on the same bus as Uchimura, because those fans of his gave me the cheers too. I have never seen so many people at one go in my life before, and it feels like I never will again. I was moved to tears by the fact that so many people were supporting us during the Olympic games."

■Kaoru Matsumoto (Judo)
"It was very heartening to see such a big crowd at the parade. The street was packed with people along the way so it must have been hot for them. I have been given a lot of support by many people, so I'm glad that I managed to win a gold medal to return their support. I will do my best in future so I look forward to their continued support."


Medalist Parade in GINZA
Medalist Parade in GINZA
Kohei Uchimura (center)
Kohei Uchimura (center) is smiling and waving to an estimated crowd of half a million cheering supporters packed along the streets.