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He Said, She Said About The Olympics

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Weekday holidays may be created in Tokyo to aid events at 2020 Games
SEP 30, 2016
Tokyo 2020 Olympics officials decided at a liaison meeting Thursday to examine a proposal to turn weekdays during the games into holidays under special legislation to facilitate the hosting of competitions using ordinary public roads.

They also decided to consider introducing daylight-saving time during the event to help athletes cope with the summer heat.

Participants in the liaison meeting included Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Organizing Committee, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, sports minister Hirokazu Matsuno and Tamayo Marukawa, minister in charge of the games.

Some of the Olympic and Paralympic sports using public roads, including race walking and cycling, are set to be held on weekdays.

“We’ve been told by the police that controlling traffic would be possible to a certain extent on weekends but would be difficult on weekdays,” Mori said. “They asked us not to hold races (on public roads) on weekdays.”

Therefore, the organizing committee proposed turning weekdays into holidays based on the example of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

In Rio, the time frame covering the events on weekdays were turned into holidays only in the Brazilian host city.

The Tokyo organizing committee’s proposal will be discussed together with the possibilities of switching the race routes to less busy roads and changing the competition schedules.

Rome chose to pull the plug on bidding to host the 2024 Olympic Games due to rising costs, and now the organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are running into the same financial issues that concerned Rome.

According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, a group of Japanese experts, under the direction of new Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, looked into the full costs of hosting the Olympics and came up with a sum of over $30 billion.

In response, Koike directed the organizing committee to look into cost-cutting measures. “We cannot impose the negative legacy onto the Tokyo residents,” he said, according to the Yahoo! report.

Since Tokyo won the bid to host the Games in 2013, the expected cost of hosting has skyrocketed, particularly after Sochi spent a reported $51 billion on the 2014 Winter Games.

Tokyo has already managed to reduce their budget by $1 billion by increasing the use of existing facilities. But that has forced organizers to move the basketball, cycling and taekwando events outside of the city, with rowing and canoeing possible candidates to be moved as well.

The original design for the Games would have had only three sports taking place more than five miles from the Olympic village, but cost impracticality and the realization that most of these venues would go unused after the Games forced a change in direction.

Yahoo! also notes that organizers could be cutting the size of some venues to reduce costs. The swimming venue, for instance, is currently set to seat 20,000—which would be the largest venue ever for an Olympic swimming facility—but could be cut down to 12,000. (For perspective, the venues used for swimming in Sydney, Beijing, London and Rio all sat between 15,000 and 18,000 spectators.)

Read the full report from Yahoo! Sports here.

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Bill Bell
Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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