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Tokyo prepares for 2020, facing rising costs and new sports

 Agencies |  2016-08-24 00:49:33.0  |  Rio De Janeiro

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is preparing for a strenuous workout with the next Summer Olympics headed her way.

The practice started when she received the Olympic flag Sunday in the official handover ceremony from her Rio counterpart, Mayor Eduardo Paes. “I hope the flag is not too heavy,” she joked the day before. “Although I have trained my muscles to receive it properly.”

The next three Olympics are in Asian countries that have already held games: Tokyo’s Summer Games in 2020, sandwiched between Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018 and in Beijing in 2022.

This will come as a relief to the International Olympic Committee after two trying games in Sochi, Russia, and Rio. That doesn’t mean they’ll be easy, particularly for Tokyo.

“I don’t think that you can ever relax,” said John Coates, the IOC member who heads the inspection team for Tokyo. “There are some big issues, even for Tokyo.”

The new national stadium is an example of Tokyo’s rising costs — or underestimating costs. The original bill was expected to be USD 1 billion, but the price soared to three times that much in a design by the late architect Zaha Hadid.

Tokyo proposed compact games in its winning bid three years ago. But venues have been spread out to save money and take advantage of existing structures. 

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