From the Ground Up: Tokyo’s Olympic Aquatic Center Begins Work on Roof

Construction on Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic venues is underway and on-schedule in Japan. The new venues, which are currently between 20 and 40 percent complete, include the Canoe Slalom Course, Sea Forest Waterway, Ariake Arena, and Olympic Aquatics Center, all in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, as well as the Olympic Village, which is situated in Chuo Ward, also home of the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market.

The Olympic Aquatics Center, which will host swimming, diving, and artistic swimming, has already begun working on a roof for the facility, with construction taking place near the ground in order to enhance workers’ safety and reduce cost. Construction is scheduled to end in February.

The roof of the Olympic Aquatics Center is a whopping 160 meters long, 130 meters wide, 10 meters thick, and weighs six kilotons, as reported by Japanese news outlet Asahi. At present, the roof rests on four steel pillars, each of which was raised by two meters in May and five meters in July. When finished, the roof of the Aquatics Center will stand 15 meters above the ground.

Though the construction period was extended by two months due to polluted soil discovered within the construction site–a speed-bump in the process that is said will have no impact on competition–the Tokyo Metropolitan Government maintains that construction will finish on-time, and has set a goal on February 20th. Former Japanese swimmer Hiroko Saito, who competed for Japan when Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964, told Asahi that three pools will be built at the Olympic Aquatics Center, including the main competition pool.

The Olympic Aquatics Center represents a departure from the original vision as the venue was moved and scaled-down in size from a 20,000-seat arena to a 15,000-seat arena, a move that will ultimately save Tokyo 2020’s organizers ¥19.3 billion ($163 million).

Indiana University head coach Ray Looze posted a picture of the roof’s progress on Twitter:


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About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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