Olympics

Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori expects big changes to marathon schedule

Kyodo

Tokyo Games organizing committee chief Yoshiro Mori said Thursday he expects to see big changes to the men’s marathon schedule following the International Olympic Committee’s decision to move the road races to Sapporo.

“It’s impossible (to hold the men’s marathon on Aug. 9) as there is the closing ceremony. The schedule will change greatly,” Mori said of the event, which has often been held on the last day of the Olympics.

Mori made the comments while visiting Hokkaido, where he held talks with Gov. Naomichi Suzuki and Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto ahead of their collaboration on shifting the marathons and race walks from Tokyo to the northern host city of the 1972 Winter Olympics.

“The marathon is the showpiece of the games,” Mori said. “I’d like to work together. I don’t want the expenses to be a burden on Hokkaido.”

Suzuki said, “There have been various issues, but I’ll put all my effort into making these games wonderful,” while adding that “it is standard for the organizing committee to shoulder the cost.”

Organizers are also considering a proposal to hold the men’s and women’s marathons on the same day.

Last Friday, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike reluctantly accepted the IOC’s decision following a publicized feud over the move, which was first announced on Oct. 16 due to concerns about the summer heat and humidity in Japan’s capital.

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