The International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission toured Tokyo’s existing and proposed 2016 Olympic and Paralympic venues Friday, and encountered sports heroes, smiling children and “cutting-edge” technology.
At the Kasumigaoka National Stadium the 1964 Olympic flame was re-enacted in the cauldron where it burned last millennium. Tokyo 2016 said it raised hopes for its future return in 2016.
The tour was right on schedule without the assistance of the police or the use of other traffic clearing measures.
At Sea Forest – the island in Tokyo Bay reclaimed from the sea – the commission joined local children to plant saplings that will grow to three metres in height within three years, as part of a transformation program that will see 1,000 hectares of new green spaces introduced to Tokyo by 2016. Along the route, children and students waved Tokyo 2016 “clappers” and cheered the commission as it passed.
The tour began in Tokyo Bay, where the delegation saw first-hand where a new 100,000-seat Olympic Stadium will be developed by 2016 and how the waterfront will be transformed as part of a major legacy for the Games.
The IOC team was given high-tech goggles to be transported into the shoes of athletes so they could explore what a full Olympic Stadium would look like in 2016 with the power of virtual reality.
The tour concluded at the Yoyogi National Stadium, with thousands of spectators greeting the IOC commission for the International Skating Union World Team Trophy 2009 in Figure Skating, and a special demonstration in their honour.
Dr. Ichiro Kono, Chair and CEO of Tokyo 2016 said, “we’ve been waiting for a long time to show the IOC Evaluation Commission the stage for the Games at the heart of city life. Simply put, that stage is Tokyo, because our ultra-compact Games plan makes best use of our city’s iconic assets to offer the ultimate environment for athletes and spectators alike”.
He added, “everything ran smoothly as normal and I hope our esteemed guests enjoyed the sports they saw, young people they met and the re-enactment of the 1964 Olympic flame burning momentarily in Tokyo as a beacon of hope for the future, not just a reminder of the past”.