Track & Field 101: Venues

Posted at 10:12 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 11:50:03-04

Olympic Stadium

View of the new National Stadium in Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
TOKYO, JAPAN - 2020/02/17: View of the new National Stadium in Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. The stadium will serve as the main stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies and for the track and field events at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Part of the Heritage Zone cluster, Olympic Stadium – formerly known as the National Stadium – is a newly constructed venue located in the Kasumigaokamachi district of Tokyo's Shinjuku, very close to the Shuto Expressway and Chuo–Sobu Line. It will host all track and field events other than the marathons and race walks, as well as soccer matches and the opening and closing ceremonies.

Sports/Events & Capacities

     • Opening/Closing Ceremony: 68,000
     • Soccer: 68,000
     • Track & Field (track, field): 68,000

A centerpiece of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the old National Stadium also hosted track and field events and the opening and closing ceremonies and had a capacity of 48,000. It was demolished in 2015. Olympic Stadium's construction was completed in late 2019.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma designed Olympic Stadium to emphasize the nation's natural resources and embody a "living tree." Its exterior is made of multi-layered eaves built from wood from each of Japan's 47 prefectures, and roof is made of steel beams and laminated lumber. Surrounded by the Outer Garden of Meiji Jingu Shrine, the stadium also has within it and around it 47,000 trees.

The stadium features a nine-lane track, two large screens to inform and entertain spectators, a top-floor public walkway lit with lanterns called "The Grove of the Sky," featuring views of Tokyo's cityscape, and a cooling system with 185 fans, mist and airflow friendly architecture.

Its inaugural event was hosting the final of Japan's national soccer tournament, the Emperor's Cup, on Jan. 1, 2020. After the Olympics, Japan plans to use the venue for sporting and cultural events.

Sapporo Odori Park

View of Odori Park Sapporo from the Sapporo TV Tower in Japan
View of Odori Park Sapporo from the Sapporo TV Tower, Japan.
David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

Part of the Heritage Zone cluster, Sapporo Odori Park is a park located in the Chuo Ward of Sapporo near the iconic Sapporo TV Tower, about 515 miles north of Tokyo on Japan's Hokkaido island. Serving as a cooler environment alternative to Tokyo, the park will be the start and the finish for the 26.2-mile marathons and 20km and 50km race walks.

Sports & Capacities

     • Track & Field (marathons, walks): TBD

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) in November 2019 announced plans to move the races from Tokyo to Sapporo – where the temperature can be 10 degrees cooler in August – over concerns about hot weather. When Tokyo hosted the Olympics in 1964, the Games were held in October to mitigate heat level impact on athletes.

Odori Park, also the Hokkaido Marathon's start, is filled with flowerbeds and trees and hosts multiple local festivals throughout the year, including the Snow Festival in the winter and Lilac Festival in the spring.

The park is just under a mile long and covers an area of 840,000 square feet. Marathoners will make two loops of the park then head south. Race-walkers will loop near the park along Sapporo Ekiame-dori Avenue.