The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) today announced that Sapporo Odori Park in Hokkaido was approved by the IOC as the venue for the marathon and race walk events at the IOC Executive Board meeting held today in Lausanne, Switzerland. This followed confirmation from World Athletics.
Sapporo Odori Park has been used in the past as a venue for the Hokkaido Marathon, giving the local authorities considerable experience in operating major events in this area, and it is a popular spot for tourists and local residents, hosting a number of different events throughout the year. It is a large open space of around 7.8 hectares in the center of Sapporo City, featuring beautiful lawns, flower beds, and trees.
The park was chosen also because its layout allows both the marathon and race walk events to be held at the same venue, while the topography of the surrounding area allows for the creation of exciting competition courses. At Games time, temporary facilities will be constructed at the park to support operations.
The marathon and race walk events are now scheduled to be held on four consecutive days, from 6 to 9 August. The revised schedule is as follows:
- 6 August / 4.30 p.m. Men’s 20km race walk
- 7 August / 5.30 a.m. Men’s 50km race walk
- 7 August / 4.30 p.m. Women’s 20km race walk
- 8 August / 7.00 a.m. Women’s marathon
- 9 August / 7.00 a.m. Men’s marathon
The Chair of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, Kirsty Coventry, said, “Athletes’ health and well-being are always at the heart of our concerns, and the decision to move the marathon and race walk events to Sapporo shows that we take such concerns seriously. We also want the Olympic Games to be the platform where athletes can give ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ performances, and this new venue ensures that they will have the conditions to give their best. I would like to thank the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the local authorities and World Athletics for confirming this new venue so quickly, in order to give the athletes as much preparation time as possible. I look forward to seeing the marathon and race walk athletes compete in Sapporo in front of a passionate crowd next August.”