Tokyo 2020

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Tokyo Olympic Stadium 90 percent finished

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TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo’s new National Stadium is 90 percent completed with the opening of the Olympics just over a year away.

Media were given a glimpse inside the $1.25 billion stadium on Wednesday. It is located in central Tokyo and will be the scene of the opening ceremony on July 24, 2020. It will also be the venue for track and field and some soccer.

Organizers say they are planning events in December to inaugurate the new stadium, which was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

The new stadium design was first awarded to British architect Zaha Hadid, but eventually the futuristic design was scrapped by the government as the cost soared toward $2 billion.

Organizers say about 45,000 of the 60,000 permanent seats have been installed, and the grass surface should be down by the end of the month. The all-weather track will be installed in August and September.

Including the stadium, Tokyo is building eight new venues for the Olympics. The other 35 venues for the games are defined as “temporary” or older buildings that are being reused, which Tokyo organizers say has saved billions. The other centerpiece for the games will be the Olympic Village for more than 10,000 athletes being built on the edge of Tokyo Bay.

The Summer Olympics don’t come cheaply, and even existing venues need extensive renovation when the Games come to town. Exact costs — what are, and are not Olympic expenses — are difficult to sort out. But Tokyo is spending at least $20 billion to get ready, 70% of which is taxpayers’ money.

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Tokyo Olympic torch relay route map unveiled

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Tokyo Olympic organizers unveiled the map route for the torch relay that will begin March 26.

As previously announced, the 121-day relay starts in the tsunami-affected prefecture of Fukushima, after the Olympic flame arrives from its ceremonial lighting in Olympia, Greece.

The relay concludes at the Opening Ceremony on July 24, the earliest Opening Ceremony since the 1996 Atlanta Games (July 19).

The relay will visit all 47 prefectures of Japan with emphasis on the area affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Around 98 percent of Japan’s population live within one hour by car or train of the route.

With the motto “Hope Lights Our Way,” it will visit the three prefectures most affected by the tsunami and earthquake (Fukushima (March 26-28), Iwate (June 17-19) and Miyagi (June 20-22)) for three days each.

More than 18,000 people died or went missing after a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizers have been eager to use the Games as a symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster that hit Japan’s northeastern region including Fukushima, 150 miles north of Tokyo, where entire communities fled after meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

In March 2017, Tokyo 2020 confirmed that some baseball and softball games will be held in Fukushima.

The torch relay will spend 15 days in the Tokyo metropolitan area, plus three days each in the four prefectures hosting multiple Olympic events (Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Shizuoka).

The flame will also visit World Heritage sites designated by UNESCO, including Mt. Fuji, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, dedicated to the victims of the world’s first atomic bombing in 1945.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Tokyo Olympic torch relay route map

Tokyo Olympic torch relay

Tokyo 2020 Olympic master competition schedule

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic master competition schedule was published Tuesday, beginning with softball and women’s soccer two days before the Opening Ceremony and concluding with the men’s marathon, among other events, on the day of the Closing Ceremony.

A record 33 sports featuring a record 339 medal events (33 more events than in Rio) take place from July 24-Aug. 9 at the site of the 1964 Games.

The first events — preliminary softball games — will be July 22, a Wednesday morning, in Fukushima, an area hit by a 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, or Tuesday night in the U.S. with the time difference.

The first medal event is the women’s 10m air rifle, as it was in Rio, where rising West Virginia sophomore Ginny Thrasher stunned for gold.

The complete event-by-event session schedule organized by sport is available here.

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