More than seven months ahead of next year’s Olympics, the host nation Tokyo formally unveiled its 60,000-seater main Olympic Stadium on Sunday (December 15).
But what’s so special about this stadium other than the fact that it is built on the site of the former national stadium used for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics? The venue is developed with special features to beat the feared heat.
The stadium, which has five floors above ground and two below, has greenery planted on the decks to provide shade from the scorching summer sun.
The eaves around the outer perimeter keep out sunlight and rain and will help channel breeze into the stadium. There are also eight mist spraying facilities, 185 fans, and 16 air-conditioned lounges.
The Olympic stadium is 🔥😎
What an incredible venue‼️
This is a place where records will be broken, legends will be made and the world's best will be crowned! 🥇#Tokyo2020
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) December 12, 2019
Opening the facility, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hailed its “top-level universal design” and “harmony with its surrounding environment.”
Renowned architect Kengo Kuma designed the stadium along traditional Japanese lines, with the use of wooden eaves and domestic lumber helping it to blend into the surroundings in central Tokyo.
The stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies plus the flagship athletics events.
However, the marathon will not have its traditional finish there, as the event has been moved to Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido to avoid the expected heat and humidity of the capital.
The unveiling will come as a relief after the humiliation in September 2016, when Abe scrapped the original plans from late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid as the costs soared beyond $2 billion.
See the Tokyo Aquatics Centre like you've never seen it before! 👀
See how that incredible roof was raised, how that beautiful exterior was constructed, and how the pools inside were created. 🏟️
A lot can be done in just 2 years! 😮
© Tokyo Metropolitan Government pic.twitter.com/D8lOXPhQtE
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) December 11, 2019
The stadium was also lowered to a height of 47 metres (154 feet) from the original design of 70 metres, which was criticised as too high and for being a potential eyesore on Tokyo’s skyline.
Total construction costs including design and supervising fees came to 156.9 billion yen ($1.45 billion), within the budget, according to officials.
The stadium will see its first sporting action on December 21 when former sprint champion Usain Bolt will take the track for a special exhibition relay.
The first competitive action there will be the Emperor’s Cup football final on New Year’s Day.
(With inputs from agencies)