Cycling Venues for Tokyo Olympics Still In Doubt.

Byron Kidd
As parliamentarians and the Tokyo metropolitan government argue over who is going to pay for a new National Stadium for the 2020 Summer Olympics which could could cost up to ¥300 billion (They need not fight as at the end of the day I'm paying for the new stadium as a taxpayer) it comes as no surprise that the necessity for many new sporting venues when existing facilities exist is being questioned. Tokyo billed itself as the compact Olympics, one in which all Olympic venues were to a mere eight kilometres from the athletes’ village but in the face of tight budgets that plan has quickly unravelled.

Proposed new Olympic Velodrome and BMX track now in doubt.

 Just today the Japanese and International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials released a statement indicating that they are close to a final venue plan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but an agreement for cycling which is acceptable to all parties is still has still not been reached.

International Cycling Union (UCI) President Brian Cookson is not happy with the proposed solution of relocating track cycling, mountain biking and BMX venues to Izu roughly 150km from Tokyo saying that it will detract from the Olympic experience of fans and competitors alike. Understanding the economic constraints Cookson conceded that he would fight for the BMX and mountain bike events to return to the city and is grudgingly prepared to accept track cycling in Izu on the condition that the existing venue undergoes extensive renovation ant its seating capacity is increased substantially from the existing level of just 1,500 seats.

Dream Island Mountain Biking course may also be relocated elsewhere.
Cycling is not the only sport to be moved from the promised 8km Olympic Zone. A proposed sailing marina near Tokyo Gate Bridge has been scrapped in favour of an existing facility near Wakasu and Badminton my be moved to Musashino in Western Tokyo. Other spots likely to move are fencng, taekwondo, wrestling and water polo.

Equestrian events will be moved from Dream Island to Baji Park, a venue from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics over 50 minutes from central Tokyo.  Dream Island is actually two largely underdeveloped islands in Tokyo bay which was to host mountain biking, equestrian and rowing events (in the channel between the two man made islands) but with two of those events tagged for relocation what will be done with that underutilised space?

Under the original plan the vast majority of Olympic events would
have been held within 8km of the Olympic village.

Over $1 billion of savings generated by the new venue plan will come from the scrapping the Youth Palza project which was planned to house both badminton and basketball, which will now be relocated to Saitama Super Arena, because hey in a country where 38% of the population will be 65 or older by 2055 who needs a Youth Plaza anyway?

So to summarise, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid promising a compact and sustainable Olympics was based on lies, deception and Hollywood accounting and moving venues from the proposed 8km radius of the Olympic Village has quite literally gutted the event.

Personally I would have liked to see Tokyo's bid emphasise the re-use of renovated facilities from the 1964 Olympics. Sure they wouldn't have the seating capacity or sexy appeal of a modern ¥300 billion stadium, but nothing says sustainability like recycling an entire city full of Olympic venues. A retro Olympics, I believe would be great for sport and set a standard for future Olympic cities based on something other than erecting expensive underutilised sporting facilities.

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