Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yuko Arimori, Dai Tamesue and Other Athletes Speak Out in Opposition to New $2 Billion Olympic Stadium Plans

translated by Brett Larner

One after another, Japan's athletes have raised their voices in opposition to the current $2 billion+ USD plans for the New National Stadium.  Writing on his website, two-time World Championships 400 m hurdles medalist Dai Tamesue, 37, brought up what he called "three points of opposition to the current plans" for the stadium.  Tamesue cited the lack of a subtrack, the massive economic burden the stadium plans will create, and the resulting feeling this burden will create among the general population that sports are something they have been saddled with.

Two-time Olympic marathon medalist Yuko Arimori, 48, a spokesperson and public figurehead for the Olympic bid, also spoke out passionately against the plans at a public symposium, crying openly as she said, "Speaking as just a single athlete, I would never want to see the Olympics turned into something that would make people view them negatively.  If our Olympians can come together in mutual support maybe something can still be done."

Former rugby national team member Tsuyoshi Hirao, 40, lashed out angrily on his Twitter feed, writing, "There's something funny going on here!  Of course.  Come on, sports people, why don't you speak out?  This insanity is totally unforgivable."

Some experts estimate that from the demolition of the old National Stadium to the completion of the New National Stadium, total costs for the project will be more than $8 billion USD.  Polls show an overwhelming majority of the public believes a stop must be put to these plans as quickly as possible, with numbers of those opposed ranging from 71% in an Asahi Newspapers poll to 95% in a Yomiuri Newspapers survey.

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