Tokyo 2020

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Tokyo 2020 lets children choose mascots from 3 finalists

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TOKYO (AP) — Japanese schoolchildren will determine the mascot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday unveiled three sets of designs for Games mascots.

The 6.5 million schoolchildren will review the shortlisted designs with their classes casting a single vote in favor of one of the three sets.

The mascots receiving the highest number of classroom votes will be announced as winners Feb. 28, shortly after the Pyeongchang Olympic Closing Ceremony.

A mascot selection panel will then decide names for the winning mascots, which will be unveiled in July or August.

The three finalists were selected from among 2,042 entries submitted by the public, with the winner to be announced on Feb. 28.

The first set is a pair of humanoid characters clad in the “ichimatsu” checkered pattern of the Games’ official logo.

The second set features a “maneki neko” (good-luck cat) and a fox commonly seen at Shinto shrines. The third set features a fox and a dog with gold ribbons on their backs.

The Tokyo Olympics will be July 24-Aug. 9, 2020.

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Tokyo 2020 mascot finalists

Tokyo marks 1,000 days until 2020 Olympics

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TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo marked 1,000 days until the 2020 Olympics on Saturday with a ceremony that included a demonstration of new sports that will debut at the Summer Games.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa were among the dignitaries attending the festivities in the Nihonbashi district in downtown Tokyo.

“The Olympic Games has the power to bring dreams to children and cultivate a peaceful society,” said Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee. “The success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is necessary so that sport can contribute to foster a better society and world peace.”

Four floats numbered 1-0-0-0 were carried through the streets to a main stage where a countdown display was unveiled. Organizers said 15,000 people attended Saturday’s event.

In an effort to give the games a more youthful and urban appeal, the IOC has added several new sports to the program.

Saturday’s event included demonstrations of three of those sports: 3×3 basketball, skateboarding and BMX freestyle cycling.

Sports climbing, surfing, baseball and softball, and karate are the other new sports added to the program. Karate and the combined sports of baseball and softball were added because of their popularity in Japan.

Tokyo’s preparations so far have won high praise from the International Olympic Committee.

“Of course there are still a lot of things that need to be done over the next three years and we must achieve them successfully,” said Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.

While Tokyo organizers are eager to showcase their progress, the preparations have not been without difficulties.

In a bid to reduce costs, some sports venues originally included in Tokyo’s compact bid, have been moved to existing facilities in neighboring prefectures, some as far as two hours away by train.

The IOC is calling for further cuts of $1 billion from a $12 billion budget.

Meanwhile, the building of the new national stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field, has been plagued by a series of problems and delays.

The initial design by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid had risen to $2.65 billion, more than twice the original forecast.

The Japanese government decided to scrap that plan and approved a new project totaling nearly $1.5 billion. Officials say construction will be completed by November 2019.

More recently, a water quality survey during the summer at the triathlon venue in Tokyo Bay found E.coli at concentrations up to 21 times the levels permitted by the sport’s governing body, a surprise for a country known for cleanliness.

This raised concerns among athletes but organizers insist the water will be clean and safe.

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Olympics add 3-on-3 basketball, mixed-gender swimming, track events

FIBA 3-on-3
FIBA
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Three-on-three basketball will make its Olympic debut in 2020. Swimming, track and field and triathlon will also debut mixed-gender relays.

The IOC executive board finalized the Tokyo Olympic program, announced on Friday. It added 15 more medal events, including doubling mixed-gender events from nine to 18. The Olympic program for 2020 will be 339 medal events, up from 306 in Rio.

The IOC called the changes more youthful, urban and female focused. The IOC hopes to one day have an even split of 50 percent male and 50 percent female athletes. There were about 45 percent female athletes in Rio.

The IOC previously added five sports to the 2020 Olympics in August — baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

There are three new swimming events — a mixed 4x100m medley relay, men’s 800m freestyle and women’s 1500m freestyle, all of which are held at the world championships.

Katie Ledecky, who swept the 200m, 400m and 800m frees in Rio, also swept the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees at the 2015 Worlds. This boosts her bid to potentially tie the female record of six gold medals at a single Olympics (Kristin Otto, 1988), when including relays.

There is one new track and field event — a mixed 4x400m relay, which is held at the IAAF World Relays.

Three-on-three basketball was on the Youth Olympic program in 2010 and 2014. FIBA has held World Championships (also called World Cups) in the discipline since 2012.

It’s unknown if NBA players would take part in Olympic 3-on-3. IOC sports director Kit McConnell said 3-on-3 players will be “specialists” without providing more specifics Friday.

No U.S. 3-on-3 players at worlds or the Youth Olympics has played an NBA game. Some played at Division I programs such as Connecticut and Gonzaga.

Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, the UConn women’s top two scorers last season, earned 3-on-3 gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics.

Three-on-three is a half-court, one-basket game with two teams of four players (one sub). Typically, game time is 10 minutes or first team to 21 points.

The 2020 Olympic 3-on-3 tournaments will include eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams.

FIBA said it will announce qualification procedures and a competition format at a later date.

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EVENTS – Additions unless specified
Events
Sport Event #
Aquatics (Swimming) 800m (M) & 1500m (W) +2
4x100m Medley Mixed Relay +1
Archery Mixed Team Event +1
Athletics 4x400m Mixed Relay +1
Basketball 3×3 (M/W) +2
Boxing Transfer of two men’s events to two women’s events 0
Canoe Transfer of three men’s events to three women’s events 0
Cycling (BMX) BMX Freestyle Park (M/W) +2
Cycling (Track) Madison (M/W) +2
Fencing Team Events (M/W) +2
Judo Mixed Team Event +1
Rowing Transfer of one men’s event to one women’s event 0
Sailing Transfer of Mixed Multihull to Mixed Foiling Multihull 0
Shooting Transfer of three men’s events to mixed events 0
Table Tennis Mixed Doubles +1
Triathlon Mixed Team Relay +1
Weightlifting Reduction of one  men’s weight category -1