Mai TARUMI, affectionately known as TARUMIN and co-representative of HELLO VOLUNTEER, has been selected as an Olympic torchbearer for the PARIS 2024 Games!
It is highly unusual for a foreigner (Japanese) to be chosen as a torchbearer, and Mai TARUMI’s selection has generated both praise and astonishment.
During her time in Canada, Mai TARUMI, inspired by volunteering at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, adopted the dream of one day volunteering herself. This aspiration materialized during the TOKYO 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. Drawing inspiration from the volunteer spirit gained during the TOKYO 2020 Games and understanding the ideals of Olympism imparted by Baron Pierre de Coubertin to the modern Olympics, Mai TARUMI’s contributions extended not only to the TOKYO 2020 Games but also reached out to volunteers for the BEIJING 2022 Winter Olympics, who faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, she has been creating opportunities for learning the French language and sharing French culture, serving as a bridge to the PARIS 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In the Olympics, the term “legacy” is often used. Despite being in a volunteer position, Mai TARUMI’s contributions and passion, serving as a mediator for the DNA of the enduring Olympic culture, likely played a significant role in her selection as a torchbearer for the PARIS 2024 Games.
Kentaro SAWADA, also known as SAWAKEN and co-representative of HELLO VOLUNTEER, served as an Olympic torchbearer at the TOKYO 2020 Games. It’s a remarkable coincidence that both co-representatives consecutively assumed the significant role of torchbearer in two consecutive Olympic Games. This symbolizes HELLO VOLUNTEER community, rooted in the TOKYO 2020 Games, connecting the two major events of TOKYO 2020 and PARIS 2024.
The exact number of Japanese individuals chosen as volunteers for the PARIS 2024 Games is unknown. However, nearly 20 members of HELLO VOLUNTEER have already been accepted as volunteers. Despite the unique circumstances of the pandemic, they serve as witnesses to the latest Olympics and Paralympics, carrying a crucial responsibility to communicate the evolving role and methods of volunteers to the upcoming PARIS 2024 Games. Mai TARUMI also plans to participate as a volunteer in the PARIS 2024 Games. Alongside her fellow HELLO VOLUNTEER members planning volunteer activities in Paris, volunteer colleagues supporting from Japan, and all sports enthusiasts, Mai TARUMI aims to convey the sentiments that have persisted from the TOKYO 2020 Games to the PARIS 2024 Games.