Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium design chosen (renderings)

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan chose a scaled-down design Tuesday for the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, five months after scrapping the initial design and construction plan for being too costly.

The new design, by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, will still cost 153 billion yen ($1.26 billion) to design, build and maintain. The initial stadium proposal would have cost 252 billion yen ($2.1 billion), making it the most expensive stadium ever built.

Kuma’s combined steel and wood structure, with a relatively flat roof with shrubbery along its outer concourses, echoes traditional temple designs. It stands 50 meters (164 feet) tall, with the track and field below ground level.

“This is a wonderful plan which meets the basic vision in the new construction plan and requirements for construction period and the budget,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in announcing the choice.

Tuesday’s announcement was a major step for organizers, who were forced to start over on a new design less than five years before the 2020 Games.

The scrapping of the initial stadium plan forced the 2019 Rugby World Cup to change venues, and the late change had raised concerns about whether it could even be completed in time for the Olympics.

Organizers also had to deal with a plagiarism scandal over the logo for the event, and an investigation last month found backroom dealings in the selection process.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the design selection process was more transparent than that for the previous stadium plan, and also addressed the main problems: cost and post-Olympic use.

The winning project will be led by major construction company Taisei Corp. Lead architect Kuma, known for his Japanese aesthetic, has also designed Tokyo’s kabuki theater that was renewed in 2013.

Officials said the design won by a small margin over the alternative plan led by architect Toyo Ito and three construction companies Takenaka, Shimizu and Obayashi.

Suga said Kuma’s plan was superior because of its ample environmental consideration and a possibility of shrinking the construction period.

The original plan by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid was criticized for its massive cost and scale.

Hadid said Japan’s scrapping of her plan was “shocking” and that she said it was not about design or budget.

“In fact much of our two years of detailed design work and the cost savings we recommended have been validated by the remarkable similarities of our original detailed stadium layout and our seating bowl configuration with those of the design announced today,” she said in a statement to The Associated Press.

A look at the old and new designs:

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COST

New: 153 billion yen ($1.23 billion)

Old: 252 billion yen ($2.08 billion)

— Cost of new plan includes 149 billion yen for construction and 4 billion yen for design and maintenance

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CAPACITY

New: 68,000 seats, expandable after the Olympics to 80,000

Old: 80,000 seats for the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup in 2019

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HEIGHT

New: 49.2 meters (161 feet)

Old: 70 meters (230 feet)

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AREA

New: 72,400 square meters

Old: 78,100 square meters

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CONSTRUCTION PERIOD

New: 36 months (from Dec. 2016 to Nov. 2019)

Old: 45 months (from Sept. 2015 to May 2019)

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CONCEPT

New: “Giant tree of life” that connects with greenery of nearby Meiji Shrine

Old: Futuristic stadium with world-class hospitality

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LOOK

New: A wood and iron roof inspired by traditional Japanese architecture, and greenery in its outer-facing walls

Old: A pair of giant arches supporting a high-tech roof, likened by some to a bicycle helmet or oyster shell

MORE: Tokyo 2020 proposes additional Olympic sports

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium
(Top: New design; Bottom: Old design) AP
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium
AP
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium
AP

U.S. men’s gymnastics team named for world championships

Asher Hong
Allison and John Cheng/USA Gymnastics
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Asher Hong, Colt Walker and world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik were named to the last three spots on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg earned the first spots on the team by placing first and second in the all-around at August’s U.S. Championships.

Hong, Walker and Nedoroscik were chosen by a committee after two days of selection camp competition in Colorado Springs this week. Malone and Whittenburg did not compete at the camp.

Hong, 18, will become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009. He nearly earned a spot on the team at the U.S. Championships, but erred on his 12th and final routine of that meet to drop from second to third in the all-around. At this week’s camp, Hong had the lowest all-around total of the four men competing on all six apparatuses, but selectors still chose him over Tokyo Olympians Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus.

Walker, a Stanford junior, will make his world championships debut. He would have placed second at nationals in August if a bonus system for attempting difficult skills wasn’t in place. With that bonus system not in place at the selection camp, he had the highest all-around total. The bonus system is not used at international meets such as world championships.

Nedoroscik rebounded from missing the Tokyo Olympic team to become the first American to win a world title on pommel horse last fall. Though he is the lone active U.S. male gymnast with a global gold medal, he was in danger of missing this five-man team because of struggles on the horse at the U.S. Championships. Nedoroscik, who does not compete on the other five apparatuses, put up his best horse routine of the season on the last day of the selection camp Wednesday.

Moldauer, who tweeted that he was sick all last week, was named the traveling alternate for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. It would be the first time that Moldauer, who was fourth in the all-around at last fall’s worlds, does not compete at worlds since 2015.

Though the U.S. has not made the team podium at an Olympics or worlds since 2014, it is boosted this year by the absence of Olympic champion Russia, whose athletes are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

The U.S. women’s world team of five will be announced after a selection camp in two weeks. Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles are in contention.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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