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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Japan Scraps 2020 Olympic Stadium Design

Japanese officials announced on July 18, 2015 that they will reopen bidding for a new stadium plan after the estimated cost for the originally-accepted Zaha Hadid-designed project climbed to $2 billion, which would have made it the most expensive stadium ever built.

Two-billion? For a stadium? That IS nuts.

Originally there was much hue and cry about the fact that a non-Japanese architect had won the design for the new stadium. That's just racist stupidity and not mere national pride.

Then to avoid looking like racists, people decried the stadiums look, saying it looked like a turtle.

Then they said it didn't fit in with the over all esthetic feel and look of the surrounding area.

Whatever. $2 billion smackers is a lot of money... too much money.

It's funny... Japan has plenty of huge stadiums that could have been used without having to go egotistical and create a new stadium to show off to the world.

The 72,000-seat International Stadium in Yokohama, located about 13 miles from Tokyo’s city center and site of the soccer’s World Cup final in 2002 could be used... but no... the Olympic Games - just like any major sports event are now more about that city's/country's ego than about anything else... it's a drive to show the world that 'we don't suck'.

I can dig it... Toronto is currently hosting the Pan Am Games right now... minor in the world stage, but a big enough deal for those athletes that are competing. A game is a game, after all. And for any athlete, despite just happy to be competing, winning is the ultimate driving force for them... and if it isn't, it should be - at least on the world stage.

But... I said athletes... not government officials.

Japan can't use the 1964 Olympic Stadium - it was demolished not too long ago to make room for another new stadium.

Japan Prime Minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) was under increasing pressure at home to come up with an alternative, and the extravagant facility also was at odds with the IOC’s new cost-cutting reforms known as Olympic Agenda 2020.

Deciding NOW to scrap the originally-accepted Zaha Hadid-designed turtle stadium means that unless they are building a high school stadium, any new design will not be constructed in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the biggest such event in Asia for the first time, hoping that it would have a new 80,000-seat stadium to be a showcase for the opening game, semi-finals and final.

Note that the opening ceremony of the Olympics is only nine months after the Rugby World Cup’s championship game.

Andrew Joseph

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