The new National Stadium in Tokyo, purpose-built for the 2020 Olympics, was unveiled in a grand opening ceremony yesterday. A number of special guests were on hand to celebrate, including eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt, who participated in a unique relay race called “One Race” featuring both able-bodied Olympians and Paralympians.
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) December 21, 2019
Bolt took the baton from five-time Paralympics gold-medallist Hannah Cockroft of the UK, who set a world record in the women’s T34 100m at the Para World Championships in Dubai last month.
The stadium, built to accommodate 60,000 spectators, was completed a month ago. It will be the venue for the athletics competitions and the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics.
It will not see the start or end of the Olympic marathons or race walk events, which were moved to Sapporo, 800 kilometres north, in an effort to spare athletes from Tokyo’s relentless heat and humidity. Many were critical of the move, which they say cost organizers millions of dollars, and which some have said was unnecessary.
Construction of the stadium is said to have cost $1.8 billion.
Yesterday’s festivities, entitled “Hello Our Stadium,” featured musical and cultural displays in addition to the One Race event.
Someone in the crowd filmed the whole #onerace! Sad that no international broadcasters aired what could have been a game changing event. So much fun to be involved and to back in front of a big crowd! #helloourstadium https://t.co/VMV2QtGdph
— Hannah Cockroft MBE, DL (@HCDream2012) December 21, 2019
The first sporting event to take place in the new stadium will be the Emperor’s Cup JFA all-Japan soccer final on New Year’s Day.
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) December 20, 2019
Bolt took time for a little holiday shopping while he was in Tokyo.