Compactness key to Olympics plan

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will be a compact games, with roughly 75 percent of the sports venues within 8 km of the Olympic Village, according to the official plan.

“The biggest selling point in Tokyo’s plan is ‘Athletes First’ — compactness in the placement of the Olympic Village and the venues,” Nobumoto Higuchi, acting secretary-general of the Tokyo 2020 Council said in July.

According to Tokyo’s plan, 28 of the 37 sports facilities will be within 8 km of Olympic Village, which will sit on a 44-hectare patch of mostly landfill on the Harumi waterfront area in Chuo Ward.

The village will be able to accommodate up to 17,000 athletes and officials and will have a 10,000-sq.-meter, 5,000-seat dining hall with three casual 700-seat dining facilities.

The lodging facilities are to be transformed into condominiums or rental apartments after the extravaganza, with the rest of the area to be developed into a hub for “international exchanges.”

The main Olympics area will be divided into the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone. The Heritage Zone, which features legacy facilities from the 1964 Olympics, will host the venues for athletics, rugby, table tennis, judo and five other sports.

The Tokyo Bay Zone, being promoted as “a model for the future urban development of Tokyo,” will host 21 venues for gymnastics, tennis, rowing, sailing, swimming and more.

The shooting and golf events will be held in Saitama Prefecture, which will host the preliminary soccer matches in conjunction with stadiums in Yokohama, Sapporo and Rifu, Miyagi Prefecture.

Of the 37 venues, 22 will be built especially for the 2020 Olympics, with eleven to remain as “permanent legacies” for the capital.

The total cost of organizing the sports spectacular is estimated at ¥455.4 billion.

In the meantime, the venerable 54,000-seat National Stadium in Shinjuku Ward, the main stadium for the 1964 Olympics, will be demolished next July and rebuilt as a “state of the art” Olympic Stadium by March 2019.

The sleek, aerodynamic-looking 80,000-seat facility, designed by Britain’s Zaha Hadid, will have a retractable roof to shield events from rain and host the opening and closing ceremonies.

The swimming, diving and synchronized swimming events will be held at the new Olympic Aquatics Center in the Yumenoshima district in Koto Ward, and the hockey will be held at Seaside Park Hockey Stadium in Oi district in Shinagawa Ward.

For the Paralympics, the bid committee placed 19 of the 20 venues within 8 km of the Olympic Village. Only the shooting events will be staged in Saitama.

The 2020 Olympics run from July 24 to Aug. 9, while the Paralympics will be held from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.