World’s oldest living person to carry Olympic torch3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
At 118 years old, Kane Tanaka from China, is the oldest living person in the world currently! Her long life and experiences is why she has been chosen to be one of the official torchbearers for the upcoming Olympics, which kicks off on March 25.
Tanaka, who has fought cancer twice and lived through two global pandemics, will carry the ceremonial flame through her locality – Fukuoka.
Owliver’s Obscure Facts
Tanaka is a supercentenarian – someone who is over the age of 110.
Though in a wheelchair, Tanaka has expressed her wish to walk at least a few steps before she hands over the torch to the next in line.
Tanaka has a way to keeping her mind sharp at her age – let’s look back on her life for her secret.
Tanaka was born in 1903. When she was 19, she got married to a rice shop owner, and had four children. She continued to work at the family store till she was 103. Tanaka has five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Major happenings of 1903
- Edward VII, Britain’s monarch, is proclaimed Emperor of India. His mother, Queen Victoria, was
Empress of India.
- The first west–east transatlantic radio broadcast is made from the United States to England
- The Ford Motor Company is founded by Henry Ford
- The first Tour de France bicycle race is held
- The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai opens its doors to guests. (Do you know which devastating event took place at this hotel on November 26, 2008?)
- American motorbike brand, Harley-Davidson was founded in Wisconsin
Tanaka has lived through two world wars and the Spanish flu of 1918. She is almost as old as the modern Olympic Games, which began in 1896. She has now lived through 48 Olympics, with this one being her 49th.
These days, Tanaka spends her days cared for in a nursing home. Though her family hasn’t been able to visit for many months due to the pandemic, she has been keeping herself busy, as well as keeping her mind sharp by playing the board game Othello.
Owliver’s Obscure Facts
The Olympic torch will first go through regions affected by the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, marking the disaster’s 10th anniversary. Keeping the pandemic in mind, restrictions have been put in place to avoid the spread of the disease. For example, torchbearers will be required to fill out a daily health checklist two weeks before the relay and refrain from activities that may involve a risk of infection, such as eating out or going to crowded places.
For her Twitter fans
Tanaka’s great-granddaughter Junko Tanaka set up a Twitter account in January 2020 to celebrate the former’s life. Junko told CNN that she started tweeting photos of her great-grandmother going about her daily routine, such as drinking Coca-Cola and playing Othello!
Images: AP, CNN