Fans, athletes, volunteers will be up early at Tokyo Games

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TOKYO (AP) — For fans, athletes, and volunteers, next years Tokyo Olympics could become known as the get-up-early games.

Hoping to beat the summer heat in the Japanese capital, organizers said Tuesday they will start the mens 50-kilometer race walk final at 5:30 a.m. The mens and womens marathon finals go at 6 a.m.

Marathon swimming will kick off at 7 a.m., and the mens and womens triathlon start at 7:30 a.m.

Even womens softball has some games scheduled for 9 a.m. No mens baseball games will start before noon.

“9 a.m. is early, thats my impression,” said Reika Utsugi, the head coach of Japans women softball team, speaking through an interpreter. “But we will have one year for the preparation. Softball cannot decide the times.”

Softball and baseball were dropped after the 2008 Olympics, and are appearing because of the sports popularity in Japan.

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics were held in the fall and did not face heat problems. But modern Olympics can no longer be held in that timeframe, needing to avoid Europes crowded soccer schedule, and year-round scheduling of the big four sports in the United States — football, baseball, basketball and hockey.

Koji Murofushi, the sports director of the Tokyo Games and a Japanese Olympic gold medalist, said organizers had consulted about the schedule with the International Olympic Committee, the governing bodies of the sports, and athletes and medical experts. He said athletes can adapt.

“When we look at the Olympic games as a whole, of course we need to consider the global audience and adjust and control the overall schedule,” Murofushi said, speaking through an interpreter. “Athletes, when they know the schedule in advance, can make an adjustment to prepare.”

As previously announced, the swimming finals will begin at 10:30 a.m. The swim schedule has nothing to do with the heat and will follow the pattern of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The morning schedule in Asia allows North American television to telecast the finals live in prime time in the evening.

American broadcaster NBC in 2011 agreed to pay the IOC $4.38 billion for TV rights through the 2020 Games. It later agreed to an extension through the 2032 Olympics, paying the IOC an added $Read More – Source

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