Celebrity Travel: Japanese Olympic superfan dies without achieving dream of watching Tokyo 2020 games

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Celebrity Travel: Japanese Olympic superfan dies without achieving dream of watching Tokyo 2020 games

Celebrity Travel:

Naotoshi Yamada, a man famous in Japan for having attended every Summer Olympic Games since 1964, has died aged 92 without achieving his dream of watching the Tokyo 2020 games.

Yamada, who was known as “Olympic Ojisan” or “Olympics Grandad” in his home country, died last week following heart failure, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

“After 92 years of his life spent cheering, Naotoshio Yamada, international Olympic cheerleader, was called to eternal rest on 9 March 2019,” his website said.

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He was a national celebrity for his colourful presence at the Games, where he was often seen wearing a gold top hat and red jacket.

Yamada began attending the Olympics in 1964 when it came to Tokyo for the first time.

He told Reuters in October that the Toyko 2020 games would be “the culmination of all my years cheering the Olympics”.

Yamada said he had attended every Olympics from the opening to closing ceremony, including the Moscow 1980 games which Japan boycotted in protest of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

His passion for the Games also saw him travel to Mexico City, Munich, Montreal, Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro.

Yamada’s collection of flags, stamps and photographs from his travels are on display at a gallery in his hometown of Nanto, Toyama.

Tokyo will be the first Asian city to host the Olympics twice, when it returns next year.

Organisers are under pressure to tackle concerns over heat waves in Japan’s capital, following a summer last year where temperatures exceeded 40C and resulted in the deaths of nearly 100 people.

Preventative measures to control temperature in the city have been proposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), including mist-spraying and heat-blocking technology.

The IOC have also announced revised start times for some sports in order to avoid the most intense heat of the day.

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