Woman Named Tokyo Olympics President After Former Chief Stepped Down Over Sexist Comments

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Nicholas Rice
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Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee has found a new president.

On Thursday, almost a week after the former chief, Yoshiro Mori, stepped down amid backlash over sexist remarks he made, Seiko Hashimoto was appointed as president of the planning group.

"I am very honored to be elected as president of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games," Hashimoto, 56, said in remarks at her first executive board meeting. "It is a big responsibility to be the President of the Tokyo Organising Committee. It is sobering."

"As part of the Tokyo Organising Committee, I will further accelerate efforts to build a collaborative framework with the national government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to convince everyone, both in Japan and around the world, that Tokyo 2020 is 'the safe and secure Games,' " Hashimoto added.

RELATED: Tokyo Olympics Chief Resigns amid Uproar Over Sexist Comments

Hashimoto has been involved with the Olympics for a number of years, according to ESPN, as she previously represented Japan at seven Games as both a speed skater and track cyclist — even winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics. The multiseason athlete has also served as an Olympic official.

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In a statement, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Hashimoto was "the perfect choice for this position."

"With the appointment of a woman as president, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is also sending a very important signal with regard to gender equality, which is one of the topics we addressed in Olympic Agenda 2020, the reform programme for the IOC and the Olympic Movement," Bach said.

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Hashimoto's appointment to the role comes shortly after Mori, 83, resigned during a gathering of Council and Executive Board members. He previously suggested during a meeting streamed online a week prior that women talk too much, per The New York Times.

According to the Associated Press, Mori apologized for the comments, but did not step down from the position, to which he was appointed in 2014, until last week, following mounting pressure, including an online petition that drew 150,000 signatures.

"With just over five months to go before the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Games, President Mori's resignation may be a cause of concern to you," Tokyo 2020 said in a statement at the time. "However, we ensure you that we will proceed with the appointment of a successor in a swift and transparent manner in order to limit the impact on our preparation for the Games."

The statement added that the organization was taking into account "opinions and recommendations" voiced at the meeting in order to use the situation as an "opportunity to further promote gender equality in society."