92-year-old Olympics superfan gears up for Tokyo 2020

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 11, 2019 - Duration: 01:41s

92-year-old Olympics superfan gears up for Tokyo 2020

500 days before the start of the Olympic Games in Japan, 92-year-old superfan Naotoshi Yamada looks to complete his Olympic circle in 2020.

He first experienced the Summer Games when Tokyo last hosted the gathering in 1964 and he has been there for every minute of every one ever since.

Anna Bevan reports


92-year-old Olympics superfan gears up for Tokyo 2020

Meet 92-year old Olympics superfan Naotoshi Yamada.

He's been to every Summer Games for the past five and a half decades.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 92-YEAR-OLD OLYMPICS SUPERFAN, NAOTOSHI YAMADA, SAYING: "Mexico, Munich, Montreal, Los Angeles, Moscow.

Japan didn't even participate at the Moscow Olympics but I went to see that Games.

Seoul, Barcelona, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London.

I went to all the Games, from the opening to closing ceremony." His first Olympics was in Tokyo when Japan last hosted in 1964, and he hopes to live long enough to complete the circle and head back to the Japanese capital in 500 days time.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 92-YEAR-OLD OLYMPICS SUPERFAN, NAOTOSHI YAMADA, SAYING: "It will be the culmination of all my years cheering the Olympics." Known to his Japanese compatriots as "Olympics Grandad", Yamada has become one of the most familiar and colorful figures at the Games.

He's regularly followed by television cameras and cheered by other fans.

But it wasn't just a desire to witness the Olympics that led him to attend his first Games.

Yamada was inspired by a speech that Emperor Hirohito gave to his university.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 92-YEAR-OLD OLYMPICS SUPERFAN, NAOTOSHI YAMADA, SAYING: "Emperor Hirohito was standing in front of us.

I was so moved.

He said: 'I hope Japan will be rebuilt by a young power like you'.

This was because Japan was lost after World War Two.

The Emperor was like a god to us at that time.

I remember that I wanted to do something - that's one of the reasons that I go to the Olympic Games." Yamada has a vast collection of souvenirs he's acquired over the years, some of them gathered through swaps with other fans.

And his haul of flags, stamps, photographs and other items are on display at a gallery in his hometown of Nanto City, in the west of Japan.

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