Mikako Kotani, a double Olympic 1988 bronze medalist in artistic swimming, was named sports director for the 2020 Tokyo Games, the organizing committee announced Wednesday.

The 54-year-old Kotani will succeed Koji Murofushi on Thursday, when the 2004 Olympic and 2011 world hammer champion moves over to become the second commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency.

Mikako Kotani speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Feb. 3, 2020. (Kyodo)

The sports director serves as the organizing committee's liaison with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee as well as national and international sports federations for the games, postponed for a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"As sports director, I am very honored and humbled to be able to support the Olympic and Paralympic games from a sporting perspective and from the perspective of an Olympian," Kotani said.

"We will work hard to overcome this unprecedented challenge the world is facing, and help athletes perform to their best in a new kind of games."