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2020 Tokyo Olympics Race Walk Course to Change After IAAF Criticism

http://www.sankei.com/sports/news/150724/spo1507240001-n1.html

translated by Brett Larner

Multiple people involved with the situation confirmed on July 23 that the race walk course for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that has been in place since Tokyo's initial bid is to undergo changes.  The original plan involved a start and finish at the Olympic Stadium with a circuit course on Aoyama Street, but IAAF officials deemed that the 1.3 km segment on Gaien Nishi Street connecting the stadium and circuit course makes it "difficult to position referees," forcing a revision of the plans.

In race walking it is illegal for both feet to be in the air at the same time, and the leading leg must remain straight from the time the heel contacts the ground until the leg is in the vertical position.  In the Olympics nine referees are properly placed to determine by visual inspection whether athletes' form constitutes a violation of either rule.

According to an involved party, the new course remains undetermined at this point.  While there is a possibility that the event may be moved completely away from the Olympic Stadium in order to stage it in one of Tokyo's well-known and popular districts, in terms of operational logistics such as athlete warm-up and transportation as well as security issues, a stadium start and finish remains the first choice.  Given these circumstances, the Olympic Games organizing committee and JAAF are examining the options.

No Japanese athlete has won an Olympic race walking gold medal in the event's history, but in March Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) broke the 20 km world record, an indication that the sport is progressing.  It is bound to receive a great deal of domestic attention at the Tokyo Olympics, but the question remains where exactly that will happen.

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How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

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The Kawauchi Counter

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Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
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“The Miracle in Fukuoka” - Real Talk From Yuki Kawauchi on “Taking on the World” (part 1)

http://sports.yahoo.co.jp/column/detail/201701120002-spnavi

translated by Brett Larner

Ahead of his nomination to the London World Championships Marathon team, Sportsnavi published a three-part series of writings by Yuki Kawauchi on what it took for him to make the team, his hopes for London, and his views on the future of Japanese marathoning.  With his place on the London team announced on Mar. 17, JRN will publish an English translation of the complete series over the next three days. See Sportsnavi's original version linked above for more photos. Click here for part two, "Bringing All My Experience Into Play in London," or here for part three, "The Lessons of the Past Are Not 'Outdated.'"


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