AISTS Road to Tokyo 2020 Series with Sachiko Tanaka

Sachiko Tanaka’s

Road to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The 2020 Summer Olympics, Tokyo 2020, is held from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. In the run-up to the biggest sporting event, we catch up with our AISTS alumni who played a vital role at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This week’s AISTS Road to Tokyo 2020 series is Sachiko Tanaka who graduated from the MAS class of 2008. Before studying in Lausanne, Sachiko had worked for around 9 years in the sport industry. We caught up with Sachiko to talk about his journey at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Tell us about your current role in/for coming Tokyo 2020

As one of the (3,929) TOGOC (Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) staff members, I am part of the Tennis and Wheelchair Tennis team that prepares the venue to welcome athletes, related staff and spectators. 

What is your typical day like?

After we moved into our venue, my typical day has drastically changed from facing the computer all day at an office desk. My day starts with checking in with our Sports Competition Manager and their team, then taking a bike ride around the venue to see how the venue is building up. Along the way I make sure the hand sanitizer stations are filled, and the body temperature scanner is working. The main priority of the Venue Management team is to create a safe, comfortable working environment for all staff on-site, and a welcoming atmosphere for athletes and spectators. As each department concentrates on its own function, we oversee the venue as a whole and be available for any needs. We change garbage bags, provide security clearance, delegate supplies, and set furniture in a nutshell. We see ourselves as the hub of the venue, often working as a problem solver if any challenge should arise, which actually takes up most of our days.  

What’s the best part of your job?

To see my excited friends and family enjoying the event I am part of. 

Tell us your journey so far from Lausanne to Tokyo 2020 since your graduation

It wasn’t easy for me to find a job after AISTS in the US. I was lucky to be back at the US Tennis Association for a couple of years. With (10) the US Opens under my belt in facility management, I moved to Tokyo, worked at two Japan Open Tennis Championships for social media marketing, and at Octagon to execute partnership marketing for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Joining TOCOG was always in my mind, and I feel fortunate that every experience and person I have met has led me to where I am today. 

Recently it has been great to cross paths with my ex-coworkers and classmates in the sports event circuit. To have (3) Japanese alumnus from (3) consecutive years representing AISTS at TOCOG has also been special for me. 

Saschiko Tanaka at the US Open Tennis Tournament
Saschiko Tanaka with friends at the  2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

What one thing did you learn at the AISTS that you still keep in mind for your work today?

It is not what you know, it is who you know. 

Do you have any advice for those looking at the next step in their sport management career and wanting to be part of the Olympic Movement?

There are many ways to get involved in sports other than being part of the International Federations. Vendors and firms working for federations or event hosts are as much involved to make a successful event, and where you can get hands-on experience. Don’t limit yourself to what Lausanne has to offer, the world is your office.

AISTS MAS 2008 visits International Olympic Committee

Experience the world of sport in the Olympic Capital

Participants attend several full-day workshops throughout the programme to experience sport. These sessions are delivered by the sport organisations and federations themselves and provide a unique hands-on experience and well as an ideal opportunity to connect to our alumni and experts working in the industry.