This week’s featured article


The International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo Organising Committee reached an agreement Wednesday to propose a plan to move the marathon and race walking events for the 2020 Games from Tokyo to Sapporo, where temperatures are cooler on average in the summer.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Thursday in Doha that the IOC and the 2020 organizing committee have already agreed to move the events to Sapporo.

The races, which are slated for next Aug. 2 and 9 for the women’s and men’s, respectively, were originally scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. in Tokyo, but had been rescheduled twice — first to 7 a.m. and then to 6 a.m. — due to heat concerns.

The plan to hold the races in Sapporo is the latest in a series of countermeasures being taken to protect athletes, spectators and volunteers during Japan’s infamously hot summer months of July, August and September.

Other countermeasures against the heat include installing fans and mist machines around and inside stadiums and arenas, holding events in the morning when it is cooler and strategically planting trees to create shade.

Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto said he heard about the plan, but has yet to receive any word directly from the IOC. He added that he was “surprised by the abruptness” of the plan and that the timeline is “tight” since organizers will have to start from scratch and begin by deciding the marathon routes.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike warned in a statement that, because the plan was “abruptly” announced, such methods could lead to problems moving forward. She pointed out that decisions regarding the course and starting times of the events have been made only after deliberation between Tokyo and the IOC, along with other related groups and organizations.

The announcement comes shortly after concerns about severe heat were raised by coaches and athletes alike following a marathon at the IAAF World Athletics Championships held in Doha, which ran from September to early October.

First published in The Japan Times on Oct. 17.

Warm up

One minute chat about the Olympics.


Collect words related to Tokyo: e.g., capital, busy, crowded, people

New words

1) infamous: to be famous for bad reasons, e.g., “Osama bin Laden is the infamous mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks.”

2) abrupt: sudden and unexpected, e.g., “The dog began barking abruptly.”

3) deliberation: careful discussion, e.g. “The jury began deliberations on the murder case.”

Guess the headline

IOC plans to move Olympic m_ _ _ _ _ _ _ north to Sapporo in bid to avoid h_ _ _


1) Why are the marathon and race walking events being moved to Sapporo?

2) What measures are being taken to deal with the heat?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you think the move is a good idea?

2) How do you think the change of venue will affect the Tokyo Olympics as a whole?

3) How do you beat the heat?





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