Tokyo 2020 Olympic venues combine tradition and future

Tradition and modernity are never far away in Tokyo, the Japanese capital, where ryokas, teahouses and ancient shrines rub shoulders with glass skyscrapers, capsule hotels and robot cafes.

Northampton, MA –News Direct– International Olympic Committee

Tradition and modernity are never far away in Tokyo, the Japanese capital, where ryokas, teahouses and ancient shrines rub shoulders with glass skyscrapers, capsule hotels and robot cafes. Getty Images

It’s no wonder, then, that this unique blend of modernity and tradition also applies to the venues of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which also aim to accelerate the city’s transition to become more inclusive and smarter.

“Tokyo has a rich heritage and showed its ability to innovate, for example at the 1964 Olympic Games. This time, the Games will accelerate the city’s transition to a more sustainable future,” said Marie Sallois, Director of Sustainable Development at the IOC .

The first group, the Heritage Zone, includes sites that were first used for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. One of them, the iconic Nippon Budokan, is the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts, where judo was first included in the Olympic program in 1964. This year it will also host karate at the Olympic Games.

The Tokyo Bay area, on the other hand, is a collection of modern sights, many of which relate to water. The Tokyo Aquatic Center, for example, features elegant curves on its diving platforms and a 10-lane main pool. State-of-the-art technology makes it possible to adjust the length and depth of its pools by moving the floors and walls. To complement the sense of modernity, and reflecting Tokyo 2020’s commitment to sustainability, it is powered by solar energy and a ground-based heat exchanger.

While this mix of old and new has always been part of the plan, that plan has evolved since 2013 when the Games were awarded in Tokyo. Since then, the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 has required host cities to make maximum use of existing venues, reducing both construction costs and carbon emissions.

As a result, Tokyo 2020 has minimized new construction and out of a total of 43 competition venues, only eight have been built from scratch, while 10 are temporary and 25 are reused. Going forward, only five percent of sites in Paris 2024 will be new, and that figure will drop to zero for Los Angeles 2028.

Of the 25 venues reused for Tokyo 2020, five were used at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics: Yoyogi National Stadium, Equestrian Park, Nippon Budokan, Enoshima Marina, and Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. These are some of the most iconic places in Tokyo. More famous for its suspended roof, for example, the Yoyogi National Gymnasium has become an architectural icon due to its distinctive design, blending traditional Japanese architecture with Western Modernist aesthetics. This year, it will host handball, Paralympic rugby and badminton.

Inclusive and smart

Away from sport, Tokyo planners say the Olympics help accelerate their city’s transition to becoming more inclusive and smart (link). The Games enable Tokyo’s 14 million people to have more green space, a healthier lifestyle, easier transportation options and a better work-life balance. The Games also help the city to become more sustainable and better suited to future challenges.

One of these challenges will inevitably be climate change. In addition to reducing emissions through the intensive use of renewable energies, such as biomass, hydrogen, heat pumps and solar power, the Tokyo 2020 venues are designed with heat in mind. .

Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium allows wind from outside to blow through the stands, for example, cooling athletes and fans inside. In an emergency, the same stadium will provide shelter, while its stores can hold enough food and water for 80,000 people. City officials are also creating more green space, planting trees and installing heat-reflecting sidewalks.

One of the green spaces will be in the Olympic Village, which is expected to host some 11,000 athletes this summer. By the end of the Games, it will eventually consist of 24 buildings, housing a mix of residents, including the elderly and young families. Designed to demonstrate an urban lifestyle that is both environmentally friendly and technologically advanced, the Olympic Village will have seaside parks and other green spaces that add to the quality of life.

An important part of the legacy of Tokyo 2020 will be the improvement of sports facilities for the city’s residents. Newly constructed sites in the bay area will provide the local community with opportunities for swimming, as well as canoeing, archery, sailing, hockey, running, tennis, rugby, rowing and many others.

Indeed, a target city of Tokyo sees 70 percent of Tokyo residents play a sport at least once a week. This target includes the elderly as well as the disabled. Thus, Olympic preparations include creating a barrier-free environment in city parks and streets, for people of all ages and abilities.

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