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

 

U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
Getty Images
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

Bob Costas’ report 100 days out from Rio (video)

Bob Costas
NBC News
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Bob Costas reported from Rio de Janeiro for NBC News on Wednesday, 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony.

In the clip below, Michael PhelpsSimone Biles and even Brazil soccer legend Pelé comment on preparing for the first Games in South America.

Costas finished the clip with a stand-up from Copacabana Beach, where beach volleyball will take place in August.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics