The organizers for Tokyo's 2020 Olympic Games want to make it clear they did not "forget" to include a spot for the iconic Olympic flame, as reports have indicated. That would seemingly be a pretty obvious, and embarrassing, thing to forget. Officials have instead insisted they were keeping the location of the flame's cauldron a surprise.
Regardless, a panel was formed to decide on a spot for the flame, and the architect of Tokyo's planned Olympic stadium said Thursday he was working toward finding a location for the cauldron, according to report from the Japan Times.
When reports surfaced that the new stadium design neglected to include a spot for the iconic, and essential, cauldron, organizers denied to the Telegraph this week that it had been forgotten. The flame is traditionally lit in Olympia, Greece and travels around the world in a torch relay before being lit to kick off the games.
"Tokyo 2020 will become an unforgettable Games for athletes and spectators worldwide and we know that the cauldron will play an iconic role", Hikariko Ono, a spokeswoman for Tokyo 2020 said to the English newspaper. Officials did admit there was a "lack of communication" between various groups involved with the stadium, and that a review panel had been set up to decide on a spot for the flame with an April deadline.
Finding a location for the Olympic flame is not necessarily an easy task, however. The International Olympic Committee requires it to be placed somewhere that's visible both inside and outside the stadium. Kengo Kuma, the architect of the stadium, – which was approved in December 2015 after an initial design was deemed too costly – told the audience during a speech at the Japan National Press Club Wednesday that the flame situation was under control, according to the Japan Times.
“The reviewing team is already working on it, and once the direction is there, I’ll deal with it accordingly,” Kuma said during a speech Wednesday at the Japan National Press Club. “There are various methods (to set it up), so there’s no need to worry.”
Stadium architect plays down Olympic flame mistake, says solution being sought https://t.co/iAKUdYzIep
— The Japan Times (@japantimes) March 10, 2016
Kuma said that the location of the cauldron had not been discussed during the December bidding process. “I didn’t propose it at the bidding because it wasn’t requested, but I thought it was highly likely to be placed inside the stadium, looking at the London Olympics, for instance,” he said.
But further stirring concerns about the flame is that Kuma's design incorporates a significant amount of wood, including a steel and wood roof directly atop spectators. The architect downplayed concerns in his speech and said the stadium would not be held back by the country's fire service act. Kuma said they would be requesting restrictions be lifted, so long as the flame is place in a safe spot, and that they were looking at various possibilities.
“The edge of the roof is made of iron, so a fire will not spread," he added, according to the Japan Times.