Usain Bolt beaten on track return at opening of Tokyo Olympic stadium

Japan's National Stadium officially opened with star-studded line-up including eight-time gold medallist Bolt aiming for another world record

By Shintaro Kano

The main stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is officially open!

Japan's new National Stadium was inaugurated in a star-studded event on Saturday (21 December), with eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt lacing up his spikes again to test the brand new track.

The reigning 100m and 200m World Record holder Bolt was beaten in an exhibition relay event, but also took part in setting a new world record with a group of locals striking his famous "Lightening Bolt" celebration, to add to his legacy on the track.

The stadium will host the athletics events at the next Olympics and Paralympics, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Bolt stars in Tokyo Olympic Stadium relay

A crowd of 59,500 attended Saturday's sold-out gala titled, 'Hello, Our Stadium'.

It was retired sprint star Bolt who drew the biggest cheers of the evening as he ran in the four-team, 6x200m exhibition relay.

The Jamaican's team came in third, despite the presence of the fastest sprinter in History.

Bolt was joined on the track by a host of famous athletes, including American hurdler Rai Benjamin, Sophie Kamlish (British Paralympian), Mujinga Kambundji (Swiss sprinter), Marlou van Rhijn (Dutch Paralympian), Jarryd Wallace (USA Paralympian), Raymond Martin (USA Paralympian), Hannah Cockroft (British Paralympian) and Jonnie Peacock (British Paralympian).

From Japan, female sprinters Anna Doi, Chisato Fukushima (two-time Asian Games champion) and Kana Ichikawa participated along with their men's counterparts Yoshihide Kiryu (Rio 2016 relay silver), Aska Cambridge (Rio 2016 relay silver), Shuhei Tada, Yuki Koike and Shota Iizuka (Rio 2016 relay silver). Alpine skier Momoka Muraoka, long jumper Saki Takakuwa, and sprinter Syunsuke Itani were also among the Paralympic stars in attendance.

Big names from sport and music help open Japan National Stadium

The first official sporting competition that will be held at the stadium is on New Year's Day - the Emperor's Cup football final between former Spain international Andres Iniesta's Vissel Kobe and Kashima Antlers.

But this opening event featured stars and celebrities alike, from Japan's Rugby World Cup trio of Michael Leitch, Fumiaki Tanaka, and Ryoto Nakamura; to mega J-Pop bands Arashi and Dreams Come True.

Japanese soccer legend Kazuyoshi Miura, 52, told Olympic Channel, "This place is incredible."

The world's oldest goalscorer in professional football added, "Everyone together, we need to make this the Mecca of sport that it always has been."

Located in the heart of the Japanese capital, the stadium is built on the same premises as the old National Stadium, which hosted the city's previous Olympic Games - Tokyo 1964.

Construction on the stadium began in December 2016, and was completed on 30 November.

Shortly after, Olympic Channel were given an exclusive behind-the-scenes look around the venue ahead of the opening event.

Watch how Bolt won his Olympic gold medals exclusively on Olympic Channel.


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