Olympic Torch Relay Starts in Tokyo

June 6, 2004, Sunday // 12:00
Olympic Torch Relay Starts in Tokyo
First torch relay bearer in Japan Kazushige Nagashima (L), a former pro baseball player, shows off the Olympic Flame on the torch at the start of the one-day torch relay in Tokyo. The Olympic flame arrived in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo by TV Evropa.
The Olympic torch has arrived in Tokyo on Sunday morning from Australia on its 53-km relay through the Japanese capital.

Its arrival is part of the flame's voyage through the world's five continents ahead of the Athens Olympics in August 13.

Former professional baseball player Kazushige Nagashima was the first runner.

Among other runners were Olympic gold medalists, including speed skater Hiroyasu Shimizu, swimmer Kyoko Iwasaki and judoka Toshihiko Koga, as well as some 70 members of the public.

Former cyclist Koichi Nakano, dubbed the king of Keirin, or high-speed bicycle events, carried the torch, riding a bicycle over the Rainbow Bridge, the symbol of Tokyo's waterfront area.

The Olympic torch, which began its five-continent journey on Friday, will be passed from Tokyo to Seoul on Monday and then to Beijing, which is to host the 2008 Olympics.

The torch will visit South America and Africa before returning to Greece in the countdown to the lighting of the flame in the Olympic cauldron in Athens on August 13.

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