She’s already an Olympic star but now in 2020 she’ll take her achievements a step further. Anna Korakaki is making Olympic history, and here’s how.
She’s the first female torchbearer
The Olympic Committee in Greece named Anna Korakaki as the first torchbearer for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. This big announcement came on February 6th.
This honor is extra big given that no woman has ever been the first person to launch the torch relay. Way to go, Anna!
The inspiring announcement of the unanimous decision that Korakaki be the first torchbearer released officially on Feb 7th. It was decided by the governing Olympic body called Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC).
The HOC President Spyros Capralos said,
“It’s a historic moment, as for the first time in history a female athlete will be the first torchbearer. I believe that Anna Korakaki has honoured the Greek flag and our country, and she deserves it, not only for the two medals at the Rio Olympics, but also for her successes after 2016.”
Another female athlete who will also get a great honor is Ekaterina Stefandidi, who will be the last female to be a torchbearer at those same Games. She will take the torch that travels from Greece to Tokyo and pass it to the Tokyo 2020 team.
This exciting event will take place at the Panathenaic Stadium on March 19th. Greece’s Stefandidi is a gold medalist in Rio 2016; her sport is the pole vault.
Now, back to Anna.
The English translation of the text for Korakaki’s Instagram photo shown above is:
Great women, great Greece! 🔥 March 12. Flame’s journey begins with @annakorakaki carrying the Olympic Light first. March 19th. The trip ends at Kallimarmaro with @stefanidi_katerina the last torchbearer on Greek soil.
Other firsts from Anna Korakaki
She’s a Greek native and also phenomenal in sport. Specifically in shooting. Training with the Orion Shooting Club of Thessaloniki, she is coached by her father Tassos Korakakis, who was a shooter (now retired).
In the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she took gold in the women’s 25m pistol event, also known as the sport pistol, on August 4th. She won another medal, bronze, in the same Olympics within the women’s 10m air pistol category.
Did I mention that she is only 23 years old? She was born in Drama, which is in northeastern Greece.
She will head to Olympia on March 12th for what will be a historic moment. Yes, Olympia, the site where the Olympic Games first began!
And that’s not all for firsts from Anna Korakaki. Back in 2004, she was the first Greek woman to win two Olympic medals in the same competition. And she was only 20 years old at the time.
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Final words on Anna Korakaki and the Tokyo Olympics
Medals are something Anna Korakaki has quite a lot of. In addition to her wins at 2016 Rio, she also took a gold and two bronze at the 2018 World Cup in Fort Benning. Her most recent accomplishment was gold and silver at the European Games in Minsk, Belarus (2019). In Minsk, her gold was for the 25m air pistol shooting event, while the silver was for the 10m air pistol.
After honoring Greece with her medals, Olympic and many others, Korakaki will now go on to do her country proud again by being the first torchbearer for the Tokyo 2020 games. She will hand the torch to Mizuki Noguchi.
Another awesome detail here is that long-distance Olympian Noguchi will be the first Japanese person to carry the flame. Noguchi won the gold medal for the women’s marathon event in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Wow, so many great female moments are going to occur at 2020 Tokyo!
The torch will spend eight days in total in Greece before it is flown to Japan. It will then stop at each of the 47 prefectures in Japan over 121 days in the lead-up to the summer games.
Finally, the torch will light at the main cauldron on July 24th. It will happen during the opening ceremony. I’ll be watching it on TV – will you be taking in the excitement too?
Top photo credit: Asao Tokolo, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.