POSTED: April 26th 2012
Tokyo 2020: New Shibuya Hikarie skyscraper takes Olympic Dreams to new heights
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
TAMPA: The gala launch of a new futuristic skyscraper in Tokyo brought Olympic heroes and supporters of the 2020 campaign together to fan the fires of their Games’ hopes. The glistening Shibuya Hikarie is a new destination for shopping, dining, culture, entertainment and business. Hikarie symbolises the advanced infrastructure and technology that underpin the bid’s dynamic plan.
Standing 34 floors tall it houses nearly 200 shops, 26 eateries, design and art galleries, office floors and a musical theatre with 2,000 seats and will be a focal point for Tokyo tourism.
Masato Mizuno, bid ceo, said, "Public interest and support for Tokyo 2020 is increasing every single day. The entire country is anticipating IOC's decision, hoping Tokyo's technical excellence would be recognised, allowing itself to be chosen as a Candidate City.
“Yesterday was exactly 500-days before the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games host city's selection, and as a result we believe the opening of Tokyo's new landmark is a great opportunity to celebrate this. Hikarie is a perfect example of Tokyo's renowned passion for innovation, and I also wish this fabulous building to work as our new lucky charm.”
Olympians present at the event were Ai Shibata, Japan's first-ever female swimming freestyle gold medallist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games; Junichi Miyashita, Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Aquatics Swimming Olympian; Mikako Kotani, Seoul 2002 Olympic Games bronze medallist in synchronised swimming; Kana Oyama, Athens 2004 Olympic Games Volleyball Olympian; and three-time consecutive Speed Skating Olympian Ikue Teshigawara.
Ai Shibata said, "I wrote ''unite all voices in Japan as one. Let's aim for Tokyo Olympics!'' in the message card. When I was still an athlete I was focusing on my preparation for the Olympics, and had no idea how the event was actually organised.
“Following my retirement, as I got involved in various activities, I learned how important the support of the host city's people is. Of course there are many factors that play a role in the Olympics, such as the athlete village for instance, but the most important thing is how enthusiastic the people are.
“I would like for Japan to unite as one in spreading our common goal to host the Olympics once again, with the aid of not only Tokyo citizens but from people all across Japan."
The new skyscraper is another example of Tokyo's tireless effort for renewal and reinvention. Recently the Tokyo Gate Bridge was inaugurated, a state-of-the-art truss bridge spanning northern Tokyo Bay, and in May will mark the opening of the fabulous broadcast tower, the Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's largest tower at 634 meters.
Tokyo is competing against Baku, Doha, Istanbul and Madrid to host the 2020 summer Games. The final decision will be voted in 2013 at the IOC Session.
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