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  • Demolition Complete at Tokyo National Stadium


    (ATR) Despite opposition to replace the 1964 Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, the former home of the Games now stands as a pile of rubble.

    The former Tokyo National Stadium before demolition (Getty)
    Demolition of the former stadium is complete after eight months of delays. The original demolition date was set for September 29, 2014, but was continually pushed back as a result of a bidding dispute. 

    Such delays made Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori become uneasy about the project’s completion date. In October last year, Mori feared that the lack of progress could affect events before the 2020 Games such as the Rugby World Cup set to be held in the stadium in 2019. 

    The demolition will make way for one of the largest and most expensive Olympic stadiums ever built, even after a size reduction of 25 percent and budget cuts totaling 40 percent. The revised budget for the project is ¥169 billion, or approximately $1.4 billion USD.

    The reduction in size and budget came in July of 2014 when the Japanese Sports Council (JSP) decided the project had “too massive a budget." Architect of the original design Zaha Hadid modified the plans following the reductions.

    The new Olympic Stadium is set to hold 80,000 spectators, nearly doubling the seating capacity of the former stadium of 48,000.

    Around the Rings (ATR) editor Ed Hula visited Tokyo last November while the city was conducting a top-to-bottom review of their venues for the 2020 Games. Hula describes the venue review process in regards to Olympic Agenda 2020 in a podcast with ATR writer Nicole Bennett.

    New design for Tokyo National Stadium after budget cuts (Zaha Hadid Architects)
    “The IOC is very carefully looking at the way it works with host cities … included in these reforms is a way for the IOC to be more flexible to a city, be more understanding about making the Olympics fit a city rather than taking a city and making it fit with all of the demands of the Olympics,” Hula commented.

    The idea of making the Games fit a city has been the primary source of opposition against the new Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

    Opponents of the project believe the design is not in tune with the existing landscape and architecture of the surrounding area and blatantly ignores established building codes, such as a 15-meter height limit. The new stadium will stand a total of 70 meters tall.

    Before new construction can begin, the existing rubble must first be removed. Organizers say the rubble will be removed by September and new construction will begin this October.

    The estimated completion date for the stadium is March 2019, five months before it is scheduled to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

    Tokyo 2020 Needs Additional Football Venues

    President of Tokyo 2020 Yoshiro Mori announced the organizing committee will add two more football stadiums to the current roster of venues scheduled to hold matches for the Games.

    Tokyo will now utilize eight venues as opposed to the original six selected.

    The additional venues will be chosen out of three possible candidates: Toyota Stadium in Aichi Prefecture, Kashima Stadium in Ibaraki Prefecture and a new stadium currently under construction in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.

    Written by Kevin Nutley

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