- Architect Zaha Hadid will not compete to provide an alternative main stadium design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Hadid’s firm, partnered with the Japanese engineering company Nikken Sekkei, was unable to find a construction company to work on the project — a condition of the new competition.
- Her original, winning design was abandoned in July after costs reached more than $2.1 billion — twice the initial estimate. The new stadium budget is approximately $1.3 billion.
- Hadid’s original design for the stadium, which beat out 45 other firms in 2012 and was supposed to be completed in time to host several matches during the 2019 Rugby World Cup, came under fire for its futuristic design, as well as its price tag.
Japan’s fiscal woes have forced it to reevaluate its spending for the Olympic Games, and Hadid’s main stadium is the latest example.
Cost overruns for host countries are not unusual, but preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan comes at a time when Japan is struggling to harness its out-of-control debt. The latest cost estimates for the Games have tripled to $16.7 billion, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is under extreme pressure from the Japanese public to curtail Olympic spending.
Japan is not the first country that let its exuberance for hosting the games take precedence over practical considerations. London's costs to host the 2012 Games were more than double its original budget, and the 1976 Montreal Games were perhaps the most over-budget Games, at more than 750% over cost estimates.