Olympians Reunion Centre by EY a haven for busy Olympians
15 | 7 | 2016
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be a busy time for Mikako Kotani, with few Olympians visiting the Olympic city taking on as many responsibilities as the Japanese bronze medallist.
Mikako competed for her country in Synchronised Swimming at Seoul 1988 and has been a fixture at the Olympic Games ever since as a broadcaster, an ambassador and an athlete representative.
This year, as well as being an integral member of the WOA Executive Committee, Mikako will be reprising her role as anchor for the Japanese TV coverage of the Games. She is also a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) Athletes’ Commission and the Olympians Association of Japan (JOA) Executive Board working on behalf of all Japanese athletes. On top of that she has been advising the Tokyo 2020 delegation on the handover ceremony which will take place during the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony on 21 August.
Mikako says her many duties within the Olympic Movement have given her a unique perspective on the Games.
“I have been watching the Olympic Games for almost 30 years”, Mikako said. “That’s 11 Olympic Games, summer and winter, as an athlete, a journalist and broadcaster, a member of the Japanese Olympic delegation, an International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission member, a Tokyo 2020 Bid Ambassador and many other roles. Watching the Games from so many different sides has made me realise how special and meaningful it is.”
Since joining the WOA Executive Committee in January as a continental representative, Mikako has been working hard to further develop the strong relationships between Asian Olympians and Olympians in other countries.
She is looking forward to catching up with her WOA colleagues in person at the Executive Committee’s quarterly meeting in Rio and taking some time out from her busy schedule to relax at the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY.
“I think the ORC is very valuable because you can meet Olympians from all over the world face to face with no pressure or stress.”
“I can’t wait to meet Olympians from different countries and different years at the ORC. It would be fantastic if I could meet other athletes who competed at Seoul 1988, which I participated in because at the time I was focusing on my competition, which was almost at the end of the Games, so much that I didn't get a chance to meet other athletes from foreign countries”, Mikako added.
She is also excited to take in some of the sporting action and counts Synchronised Swimming and the 100m final as her highlights but admits she often struggles to fully enjoy the role of spectator.
“I always try to enjoy watching the Games, but I always fail. Being at the Olympic Games and being surrounded by the atmosphere still makes me tense, just like when I competed.”
One event Mikako is urging all Olympians to watch, however, is the handover ceremony at the close of the Games when the Olympic flag is passed to future hosts Tokyo 2020. As a former Tokyo 2020 Bid Ambassador and advisor on the Tokyo’s section within the Closing Ceremony Mikako says it will be a moment not to be missed.
“I kept telling the event producer how special and sentimental the Closing Ceremony is for athletes. It will be a fantastic ceremony and I’m sure it will give you goose bumps with deep emotions, so don’t miss it!”
“I’m thrilled we have the opportunity to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in 2020. I look forward to sharing our traditional Japanese friendship, culture and hospitality, ‘omotenashi’, with visitors to my country.”
Join Mikako Kotani and many other Olympians at the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY in Rio this August. Register in advance at http://olympians.org/rio-2016/ to secure your entry to this exclusive venue enjoy the Olympic Games Rio 2016 in comfort and style.
Image credit: IOC Image Library