This week’s featured article


John Coates, chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said Monday that the Japanese capital needs to strategize beyond the games.

Coates said while organizers deal with the pre-Olympic madness, they must embed legacy planning in every aspect of their preparations, particularly when considering how to make the best use of venues after the games.

“This was something that in Sydney we did not do well, but the national federations have to be encouraged to sit down with their international federations now and say, ‘Look, can you include us for a future world cup in particular sports?'” he said.

“Now is your time to take advantage of the fact that you’re hosting the games. International federations will listen to you now. Put your hand up for some world cups. You’ve got these venues so we want to make sure they’re used as high-performance venues, but also to train young people in those particular sports.”

Coates, who was in Tokyo for an IOC project review meeting, said organizers continue to face the “must-fix” challenges of infrastructure, construction and mitigation of transport challenges and heat risks.

“We need to be able to — for the athletes in particular — to guarantee the (amount of) time it will take to get from the (athletes’) village to the venues. We need to see the impact of some of the measures that have been introduced during the test events,” he said.

Regarding the road pricing plans that could possibly see the Metropolitan Expressway tolls go up, Coates said the central and Tokyo governments will do whatever is acceptable to help organizers address the problem, including one to curb traffic volume during the games.

“Maybe these are long-term solutions, but when it comes to impacts on the community, I think it’s better that the government makes those decisions (and not the IOC).”

But Coates said he has been pleased to witness the empowerment of local communities, and thinks the reconstruction theme and the bringing of the games to areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster is important to Japanese society in general, especially to young people.

First published in The Japan Times on July 23.

Warm up

One-minute chat about sports


Collect words related to “plans” e.g., prepare, action, timeline, business

New words

1) curb: to restrict, e.g., “You have to curb your desire.”

2) cluster: a bunch, e.g., “We found a cluster of stars.”

Guess the headline

Tokyo must plan ways to use new v_ _ _ _ s beyond the O_ _ _ _ _ _ _, says IOC’s Coates


1) What did John Coates tell Japan to think about?

2) Which host city does he mention as a past example?

3) What has Coates been pleased to see in the planning of the Olympics?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Are you excited for the 2020 Olympics?

2) What do you think should be done with the venues after the Olympics finish?

3) What other events do you think Japan should host after the Olympics finish?





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