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U.S. to set up 2020 Olympic base at Tokyo American Club

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The U.S. Olympic team will be based at the Tokyo American Club in Tokyo during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, USOC officials announced Aug. 2. The club, established in 1928, has been relocated several times in the city. The current facility was opened in 2011.

TOKYO >> Tokyo American Club has been reserved as the site for USA House at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the country’s Olympic committee revealed.

USA House serves as the hospitality and organizational headquarters of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) during the Olympics.

According to USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, Tokyo American Club, an international social meeting place in Japan, approached the committee about four years ago. Admitting there were other options, he said the club “emerged as the right kind of place.”

“It’s just excellent in every respect,” he said. “It’s a great facility and a great location, managed by very capable people who believe in the Olympic movement.”

The Tokyo Olympics is still three years away, but Blackmun said the USOC wanted to generate more interest in Team USA and connect its sponsors, donors and other partners, as the committee is run solely through private funds with no direct government financial backing.

“We have a big family who supports Team USA, our athletes, our families, our sponsors, our donors and a great group of people who are here to support the Olympic Games and our team,” Blackmun said. “So we would like to have a place that has an American look and American feel where they can come and support our team.”

Tokyo American Club was established in 1928 and has been relocated around the capital several times. The present facility opened in 2011 in Azabudai in Minato ward, near Tokyo Tower. In recent Olympics the USOC had its USA House at the Royal College of Art for the 2012 London Summer Olympics, at the Olympic Park for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and at Ipanema Beach during last summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

USOC Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird said the committee has drawn experience from every host city and expressed confidence the base for the Tokyo Games “will be the best USA House ever.”

Baird said the committee will keep some of its plans secret for now, but added they would welcome both current athletes as well as “legends” of past games when USA House opens in the summer of 2020, a few days before the Olympics.

Tokyo American Club President Mike Alfant said that the club has held a high international standard since its inception in 1928, but hosting USA House would “set the standard even higher.”

“You have chosen the right place. This is the best facility with a good location, strong security and et cetera,” JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda said.

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