News Archive

2019.04.22
For fans, athletes, and volunteers, next year’s Tokyo Olympics could become known as the get-up-early games.

Hoping to beat the summer heat in the Japanese capital, organizers said they will start the men’s 50-kilometer race walk final at 5:30 a.m. The men’s and women’s marathon finals go at 6 a.m.

Marathon swimming will kick off at 7 a.m., and the men’s and women’s triathlon start at 7:30 a.m.

Even women’s softball has some games scheduled for 9 a.m. No men’s baseball games will start before noon.

“9 a.m. is early, that’s my impression,” said Reika Utsugi, the head coach of Japan’s women softball team, speaking through an interpreter. “But we will have one year for the preparation. Softball cannot decide the times.”

Softball and baseball were dropped after the 2008 Olympics, and are appearing because of the sports’ popularity in Japan.

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics were held in the fall and did not face heat problems. But modern Olympics can no longer be held in that timeframe, needing to avoid Europe’s crowded soccer schedule, and year-round scheduling of the big four sports in the United States — football, baseball, basketball and hockey.

Koji Murofushi, the sports director of the Tokyo Games and a Japanese Olympic gold medalist, said organizers had consulted about the schedule with the International Olympic Committee, the governing bodies of the sports, and athletes and medical experts. He said athletes can adapt. (Japan Today, 17 Apr 2019)