Tuesday, June 16, 2015

RWC2019 - It's not a mailing address

Tokyo is gearing up for its next great sporting event, the 2020 Olympics. People are talking about it around town. Whether for, or against, everyone seems to have an opinion. The stadium is causing controversy, but complaining about cost and design after winning the bid seems a little unsporting. The latest reports are that it actually won't be complete on time for the Opening Ceremony. The roof is said to be the latest casualty and an element of the seating many be temporary. It doesn't take a genius to see where this is going; the city is getting a smaller stadium.

But that stadium is important. In 2002 not a single game was played in the capital city of the host nation. It will be a symbol of Japan for not just 2020, but for the next fifty years. In 2050, children will be able to walk by it and say "my grandfather built that." The arguments that it is disrupting the natural surroundings don't carry too much weight either. I walk the area regularly and, apart from the other stadiums around it, there are railway tracks and a feeder road to the highway system. Time to create something to be proud of.

However this is forgetting something important. Very important. In 2019 the same stadium is due to host the final of the Rugby World Cup. Even if it's not your sport, it's the second most popular event on the planet after the Football World Cup. The Olympics come in third. The word on the street in Tokyo though is that things aren't well in the RWC camp. In fact, it's being suggested the stadium is the least of their problems. This is a global event. Let's hope in 2050 children will also be able to say "my grandfather played in that."

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