As London prepares to host the 2012 Olympic games in July, Japan’s bid committee to host the 2020 Games, today appointed former Olympic gold medalist and chairperson of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Yuko Arakida, as Sports Director.

Arakida is a major figure in not only Japan but in the history of women’s volleyball, her appointment underscores Tokyo 2020’s ongoing effort to further enhance unity and momentum for Tokyo’s campaign to host the 2020 Games.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Masato Mizuno said:

“We are delighted to announce a strong addition to the Tokyo 2020 team. Yuko Arakida is a renowned former athlete and global ambassador of the Games.”

“Along with her experience and expertise, the Tokyo 2020 team is united as a collective team, determined to bring the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to Tokyo.”

Stadium for London 2012

London 2012, Opens on July 27

Arakida, also Executive Board Member of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), holds an impressive track record.

During her heyday as an athlete, she was a member of Japan’s gold medal-winning teams at the 1974 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship in Mexico, the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games and the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Cup 1977 in Japan.

Following her tenure as an athlete, she led both national teams and club teams on the international stage in Switzerland and Germany.

Arakida will take up a leading role in Japan’s second consecutive bid, and her past bid experience is seen as essential for Tokyo 2020 to suceed.

Yuko Arakida said: “I am extremely excited for this opportunity. I have long held the utmost respect for the Olympic Movement, especially following my outstanding and memorable experience at the 1976 Montreal Games.”

“I quickly realised that the Olympics is no ordinary event: it is a special celebration, where not only athletes, but the entire world can come together.”

“I will communicate with the International Federations to the fullest extent in order to understand their needs, ultimately allowing me to better plan and implement ideas for Tokyo 2020.”

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