Olympic Officials Aim to Move Marathon from Tokyo to Cooler Sapporo
Fans of long-distance racing might not be able to see the marathon event next year at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Instead, they might have to travel to Sapporo on Hokaido Island -- 832 kilometers away.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday released its proposal to move the marathon and long-distance race walking events to Sapporo. The change was announced quickly -- with little discussion with local organizers or government officials.
Sapporo officials are excited by the proposal to move next year's events to the northern Japanese city.
"We take this as an honor," Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto said.
That was not the case in Tokyo, however. It seemed to catch officials there by surprise.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was not happy on Thursday.
"We are very surprised to learn of this sudden change of direction," she said. She noted the effort that municipal governments had made to organize the race.
Koike, however, did not disagree with the IOC's reasoning for the change. The Olympic Committee noted Tokyo's especially hot weather and athlete's safety.
The IOC wrote: "In Sapporo, temperatures during the Games period are as much as five to six degrees centigrade cooler during the day than in Tokyo."
The hope is that the cooler temperatures will reduce "stress" on the runners.
Koike said, "Of course, the athletes-first approach is extremely important."
Sapporo is not new to the Olympics. It hosted the 1972 Winter Olympic Games. The city also has expressed interest in holding the 2030 Winter Games.
This week's unexpected move could be a first step.
"I think this could pave the way for us," Sapporo's mayor said.
Why officials proposed the change
Olympic officials have acted because of results from the recent World Track and Field championships, held last month in Doha, Qatar.
In the women's marathon event, 28 of 68 competitors who started the race failed to finish. In the men's race, 18 of 73 failed to complete the course. This happened even with the races being held at midnight, when the weather was cooler. The temperature was still 38 degrees C at the time, however.
Ethiopian distance-running great Haile Gebrselassie said athletes "could have died" in the women's race.
The marathons in Tokyo were to start at 6 in the morning to ease the heat effect on runners. The men's 50-kilometer race walk final was expected to start at 5:30 in the morning.
Tokyo governor Koike said she wants the IOC to explain the decision "to all of the games' stakeholders, including the citizens of Tokyo."
A report released last year by the national government's Board of Audit said Japan is likely to spend $25 billion to prepare for the games. Much of the total is public money, except for the $5.6 billion in the privately funded operating budget.
However, organizers dispute that amount. They say it is about $12 billion. There is a heated debate over which costs are directly related to the Olympics and which ones are not.
Tokyo estimated a total cost of about $7.5 billion when it won the right to hold the games in 2013.
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2.total cost 总开支
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国际奥委会（IOC）周三公布了将马拉松和长距离竞走赛事移至札幌的提议 。这一变动宣布得很快，几乎没有与当地组织者或政府官员商议 。
然而，东京方面的反映则不然 。这一变动似乎让当地官员颇感意外 。
周四，东京都知事小池百合子(Yuriko Koike)有些失落 。
她说：“我们对这一突如其来的变故感到震惊 。”她指出了市政府为组织这次赛事付出的努力 。
不过，小池百合子对国际奥委会对这一变动的解释没有异议 。奥委会注意到东京特别炎热的气候条件以及运动员的安全 。
札幌对举办奥运会并不陌生 。该城市主办过1972年的冬季奥运会 。札幌还表示有意举办2030年冬季奥运会 。
在女子马拉松比赛中，68名参赛选手中有28名未能完成比赛 。而在男子比赛中，73人中有18人未能完成比赛 。这种情况甚至是在午夜举行比赛时发生的，当时的天气较为凉爽 。然而，当时的温度仍然高达38摄氏度 。
东京的马拉松比赛将在早上6点开始，以减轻炎热天气对跑步者的影响 。男子50公里竞走决赛预计将在早上5:30开始 。
日本国家政府审计委员会去年发布的一份报告称，日本可能会斥资250亿美元来举办奥运会 。除了56亿美元的私人资助预算外，大部分开支由国家出资 。
然而，组织者对这一数据有异议 。他们说，实际金额大约是120亿美元 。关于与奥运会直接相关以及与奥运会无关的费用一直存在着激烈的争论 。