Japan Plans To Combine Past And Future for the 2020 Olympic Venues

TOKYO -- The venues planned for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo both look to the future and incorporate the past.

A futuristic 80,000-seat main stadium will be the centerpiece, touted by organizers as one of the most advanced in the world. Designed by Zaha Hadid, it will go up on the site of the Olympic Stadium from 1964, the last time Tokyo was host.

The Japanese capital, selected last weekend over Istanbul and Madrid to host in 2020, will also reuse three venues from the 1964 Games, demonstrating a commitment to its Olympic legacy.

Yoyogi National Gymnasium, known for its eye-catching suspension roof design, was the venue for swimming and basketball in 1964 and will host handball in 2020.

Table tennis will be held at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, home to water polo and gymnastics in 1964. And judo will return to Nippon Budokan.

If the 1964 Olympics raised the curtain on Japan's era of rapid economic growth, the 2020 version will be more about revitalizing a city – and a nation – that prides itself on cutting-edge technology.

Tokyo has become a model of urban efficiency, widely renowned as one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world. The 2020 games are also meant to showcase the country's recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami – though problems continue to plague the devastated nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Revitalizing Tokyo's waterfront is a major focus of the 2020 plans. The Olympic Village will be situated on the waterfront, and the Tokyo Bay Zone will have 21 venues on waterfront sites.

The main stadium, which will have a retractable roof, is expected to be finished in time to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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