Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium criticized by other architects

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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.”

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Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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