Aged 118, the world’s oldest living person will carry the Olympic flame in Japan
- Updated: March 5, 2021
At 118 years old, the world’s oldest living person is preparing to carry the Olympic torch this May in Japan.
Kane Tanaka, who has twice survived cancer, lived through two global pandemics and loves fizzy drinks, will take the flame as it passes through Shime, in her home prefecture of Fukuoka.
While Tanaka’s family will push her in a wheelchair for most of her 100-meter (about 328 feet) or so leg, the supercentenarian — a person aged over 110 years old — is determined to walk the final few steps, as she passes the torch to the next runner.
Spoke exclusively with Tanaka, who has a new pair of sneakers for the event — a gift from her family on her birthday in January.
“It’s great she reached that age and she can still keep up an active lifestyle — we want other people to see that and feel inspired, and not to think age is a barrier,” said her grandson Eiji Tanaka, who is in his 60s.
Previous record holders for the oldest Olympic torchbearers include Aida Gemanque of Brazil, who lit the torch at the 2016 Rio Summer Games age 106, and table tennis player Alexander Kaptarenko, who ran with the torch at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games at 101 years old.