Egami has been hired to develop communication strategy and coordinate messaging through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and the Tokyo 2020 website.
Tokyo’s unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics suffered from poor public support and the early signs so far for this campaign are not promising.
An insidethegames analysis of the success so far of the social media campaigns of the five cities bidding for 2020 shows that the Japanese capital is already badly trailing its rivals.
They have only 676 likers on Facebook and 649 followers on Twitter, a long way behind Madrid whose Facebook page is liked by 34,487 people and their Twitter account followed by 2,820.
Baku, who have made major attempts to rally people behind them as they seek to make the short-list for the first time, are the next most successful city with 26,916 likes on Facebook, although they will be disappointed that only 418 people are following them on Twitter.
Doha and Istanbul are relatively closely matched on Facebook with 1,096 and 1,018 likes respectively but the Qatari capital is doing significantly better than its Turkish rival on Twitter with 1,079 followers compared to 174 – the worst of all five bidders.
Japanese officials will be hoping that 31-year-old Egami, who is fondly remembered in Japan for the highly distinctive choreography she performed with her teammates during the Sydney Olympics, can help them close the gap by connecting with the younger audience for who social media is so important.
Her new appointment comes off the back of her having played an innovative role in developing key messaging materials for the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Tokyo last October.
Egami plans to attend events supported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee and speak with people to address their ideas and interests in Tokyo 2020 messaging.
“The Olympic values I have inherited from my synchronised swimming career have helped me to reach goals in my professional life,” she said.
“Now I want to share my ideas on a wider stage in support of the Tokyo 2020 bid.
“Though I wasn’t around for the Tokyo 1964 Games, when I listen to the athletes from this monumental event talk about their enduring passion, I am overwhelmed by the thought of how it would be a dream come true for the Games to return to this great city.
“I hope to contribute to this wonderful project and communicate to people that Tokyo 2020 will provide incredible energy for the athletes, the nation and indeed the world.”
Tsunekazu Takeda, President of both Tokyo 2020 and the Japanese Olympic Committee, is hopeful that Egami can be a major weapon in the campaign, where hearts and minds must be won.
“It is essential that our bid draws on the wisdom of former athletes,” he said.
“Their passion for sport and their knowledge of the Olympic Movement are a crucial part of what we represent.
“The presence of Ayano Egami on our team immediately enhances our Tokyo 2020 bid and the messages we will communicate to the world.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Insidethegames.biz is a blog of the London Games organizing committee. This article is reprinted here with permission.