Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium criticized by other architects

Tokyo 2020
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The futuristic-looking Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium is coming under criticism from the Japanese architecture community.

Japanese architects are slamming the proposed 80,000-seat venue, saying it’s too big and setting up a symposium to protest against its “size and scale,” according to Architects’ Journal, a weekly British magazine.

The 2016 Olympic Stadium will seat 60,000. The 2008 Olympic Stadium capacity was 91,000, and the 2012 Olympic Stadium capacity was 80,000.

London-based architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the 2012 Olympic Aquatics Center, won a contest to design Tokyo 2020’s national stadium last year, before Tokyo beat Istanbul and Madrid for the right to host the 2020 Olympics.

The new stadium will reportedly cost $1.3 billion and have a retractable roof. Construction is scheduled to start in 2015 with completion in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Fumihiko Maki, 85, is leading the opposition. Maki is a winner of the Pritzker Prize, an award that’s been called the Nobel Prize of architecture.

“I hope that his protest is successful in shrinking the design to fit the context,” Sou Fujimoto, another architect, told the magazine. “I’m not fighting Zaha. The competition for the stadium was very rigorous, and we can’t overturn everything. But the design could be better.”

Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964, and that national stadium still stands today but is now set to be demolished and replaced.

“One hopes that, as Zaha’s design is worked through in detail, the stadium’s interface with urban neighborhoods and parkland on its periphery will be significantly softer,” architect Alastair Townsend told the magazine. “The current renderings don’t show a single tree on the site.”

How Tokyo 2020’s win played out on Twitter

Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi’s USA Basketball career isn’t done just yet.

The five-time Olympic gold medalist will take part in a national team training camp in Minnesota next month. Taurasi told The Associated Press last summer that she would consider playing with USA Basketball if she was healthy enough. She injured her quad shortly after and didn’t participate in the FIBA World Cup that the Americans won in Australia.

While Taurasi will be at the camp, Brittney Griner won’t. She is still part of the pool that the 2024 Olympic team will be chosen from, but Griner hasn’t been out in public much since a prisoner swap in December brought her home from Russia after a 10-month ordeal that captivated world attention. Griner said she plans on playing in the WNBA this year.

Taurasi is a free agent right now, but is expected to return to the Phoenix Mercury — the only team she’s played for in her WNBA career. She turns 41 in June and would be 42 at the time of the Paris Olympics in 2024. The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer and her good friend Sue Bird hold the record with five Olympic gold medals. The pair helped the U.S. win a seventh consecutive gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Bird retired from playing at the end of last season.

Other players expected at the training camp that will run from Feb. 7-9 include former Olympic or World Cup gold medalists: Ariel Atkins and Elena Delle Donne of Washington; Napheesa Collier of Minnesota; Allisha Gray of Dallas; Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney of New York; Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young of Las Vegas; Kahleah Copper of Chicago and free agent Angel McCoughtry.

Natasha Howard, Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale of Dallas will also be at the camp as well as Phoenix’s Brianna Turner.

National team head coach Cheryl Reeve will run the three-day camp with Curt Miller of Los Angeles, Mike Thibault of Washington and James Wade of Chicago helping out.

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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