Tokyo 2020

Protest in Tokyo against proposed Olympic stadium

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Holding red balloons and waving placards saying “We want a compact and economical Olympics” and “Reverse the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” about 500 protestors marched around Tokyo’s National stadium on Saturday, the AP reports.

56 years after it was built for the 1960 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the current 48,000-seat stadium is scheduled to be demolished this month. In its place a 80,000-seat facility with a retractable roof and a bold futuristic look–some have compared it to a bike helmet–will be built to serve as the centerpiece of the 2020 Games.

Criticism against the size and scale of the stadium has already had an effect. Last November, Japan’s Sport Council agreed to reduce the building’s size by 25 percent and cut construction costs from $3 billion to $1.8 billion.

However, opponents of the Zaha Hadid-designed building are still urging the government to renovate the current facility. They worry, Architectural Record reports, that the new design will upset the balance of tranquil green spaces and athletic facilities currently at the site.

After the 2020 Games the venue is envisioned as a site for rock concerts, another point of contention. Critics believe the space won’t be used frequently enough to justify its operation and maintenance costs.

Construction begins on Rio’s second largest Olympic cluster


Ex-Canadian Olympic Committee president sorry for behavior, quits law firm

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MONTREAL (AP) — Former Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut has apologized for his behavior amid allegations he sexually harassed several women.

He said in a statement Friday he has been “living in turmoil,” offering “unreserved apologies” from the “bottom of my heart” to all who have been hurt by his conduct. The 67-year-old Aubut adds he is leaving his BCF law firm and seeking counseling.

Aubut resigned as Canadian Olympic Committee president last weekend after women accused him of sexual comments and unwanted touching. Interim president Tricia Smith has said the organization’s board was not aware of “any specific interactions that would be construed as harassment.”

Aubut was CEO of the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques until the team moved to Colorado in 1995. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

MORE: Canada sets Rio 2016 medals goal

Magnificent Seven reunion in the works

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Magnificent Seven teammates had a message for team captain Amanda Borden after they won gold at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.

“You have to get us back together,” Borden remembered in a phone interview Friday.

Reunions have been rare in the last 15 years, but Borden said she’s been in contact with all of her teammates to arrange at least one get-together in 2016 to mark the 20-year anniversary of their Olympic triumph.

“It’s easier said than done,” said Borden, who owns two Phoenix-area gyms with her husband and has three children. “I know every one of us really wants to make it happen. We are definitely doing it. It’s just a matter of if all of us can be there.”

It may happen in Atlanta. It may be at a USA Gymnastics event, such as the Olympic trials in San Jose, Calif., in July. It may be somewhere less visible, such as a warm beach.

It probably won’t happen in Rio de Janeiro, because it’s hard to coordinate the schedules of all seven women for an event abroad, even though some will be at the Olympics anyway.

Borden and Kerri Strug said they don’t remember all seven members of the team being together since 2008, the year the Magnificent Seven shared a stage for a U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame induction (photo here).

“[Borden] has put out the feelers; it seems like we’re on board,” Strug said while in New York last month for an Epson “Swimming in Ink” event with U.S. synchronized swimmers. “Do we want to do a cruise or take a vacation?”

The other Magnificent Seven team members were Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon MillerDominique Moceanu and Jaycie Phelps.

MORE GYMNASTICS: Shannon Miller recalls 1996 Olympic podium thoughts in book excerpt