LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Dates and details of the routes to be used for the Tokyo Olympic marathon and race walk events in Sapporo were announced Wednesday, weeks after the IOC ordered the switch in search of cooler temperatures despite opposition from city officials.
The IOC and the Tokyo organizing committee said the women’s and men’s marathons will run on back-to-back days, Aug. 8 and 9, on the final weekend of the games. Both races will start at 7 a.m. — later than the scheduled times in Tokyo, where the women’s race was to be on Aug. 2.
All five marathon and race walk events will be condensed in a four-day span to help coaches and team officials support athletes in Sapporo.
Sapporo Odori Park will host the race walks in 1-kilometer and 2-kilometer loops. A 20-kilometer loop will provide the first half of the marathon course.
World Athletics will join a site visit this month to study options for completing the marathon route.
The IOC abruptly announced moving the races in October, fearing Tokyo's summer heat could repeat TV images of struggling athletes in Doha, Qatar, during the recent world championships.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the IOC was inconsistent since it had known about Tokyo’s heat since the games were awarded in 2013.
“We want to be good partners (with host cities) but first and foremost also looking at the athletes' welfare, safety and security,” the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, Christophe Dubi, said Wednesday
Dubi said the IOC would look at meeting some of the extra costs of moving the races, such as accommodation, while Sapporo would also help pay for organizing events now taking place in the city.
Sapporo, which was the 1972 Winter Olympics host, is a potential candidate to bid for the 2030 Winter Games.
It is unclear if the medal ceremony for the men's marathon, ending in mid-morning on the final day, can be held in Tokyo.
IOC sports director Kit McConnell said a discussion about transferring the medallists in time could now happen after the schedule was confirmed