Olympic legacy gains momentum with reuse of venues

Courtesy of the Tokyo metropolitan government
Tokyo Tatsumi Ice Arena, created from the Olympic venue for water polo, will be open year-round.

There will be a new training center for para-athletes, and the water polo venue will be turned into an ice skating arena.

These are among the plan, called the Tokyo Sports Legacy Vision, that the Tokyo metropolitan government has compiled for future use of facilities built or renovated specifically for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

In addition to the new ice arena, the guidelines call for five Olympic facilities to be opened to the public in a phased manner from April.

For para-athletes, the Tokyo Metropolitan Para Sports Training Center will be opened at the end of fiscal 2022 under the stands at Tokyo Stadium, the venue for soccer, modern pentathlon and rugby sevens in Chofu, western Tokyo. It will be available for wheelchair basketball and other sports.

The Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center in Koto Ward, which served as the venue for water polo, will be renovated into an ice rink in fiscal 2025 and renamed the Tokyo Tatsumi Ice Arena.

It will open to the general public as the first metropolitan facility with a year-round rink. The facility is also expected to host about 20 competitions a year as well as ice skating exhibitions and other shows.

Also, the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Koto Ward — the site of a Japanese medal rush in the new Olympic sport of skateboarding — will be enhanced as a central location for urban sports.

Courtesy of the Tokyo metropolitan government
An enhanced Ariake Urban Sports Park will serve as a center for urban sports.

The envisaged layout will have an zone for beginning skateboarders, as well as a three-on-three basketball court and an indoor sport climbing facility.

Of the six facilities newly built for the Tokyo Games, the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Koto Ward has already opened to the public. The five other facilities will open in time from this April to around April next year.

The Tokyo government plans to hold events at the general opening of each facility, such as allowing the public experience the sport held there, and foresees organizing a “legacy tour” of the venues.

According to the metropolitan government, the rate of sports participation by Tokyo residents rose from 39.2% in 2007 to 68.9% in 2021. The government believes that the Tokyo Games helped spur interest in sports, and hopes to promote further participation by making effective use of the facilities after the Games.

Also, Tokyo is progressing with creating barrier-free environments at metropolitan parks and municipal sports facilities throughout the metropolis.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach hailed the legacy project.

“We congratulate the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for this fantastic achievement and welcome its plan to build on this legacy by further promoting sports activity in the city,” Bach said.

Details of the plan are available on the Tokyo metropolitan government website.