Murofushi, a two-time Olympic hammer medallist, joined hundreds of local schoolchildren to form the words ‘Tokyo 2020’ on the playing field ahead of the stadium’s final event – an Asian Five Nations rugby match between Japan and Hong Kong.
“Being on the field today was very moving,” said Murofushi. “This stadium is the sanctum of Japanese sport, full of history and memories. I am delighted and deeply honoured to be here as part of the celebrations to mark its closure.”
The National Stadium first opened in 1958 and hosted that year’s Asian Games before staging the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the athletics events, during the 1964 Olympic Games.
The new National Stadium – designed by architect Zaha Hadid – is now due to be constructed on the site ahead of the 2020 Games.
“The new National Stadium will be astounding and I can’t wait to be back here in 2020 to welcome athletes and spectators from around the world and to see the fantastic performances,” added Murofushi. “Younger generations will also have the chance to make history in the new National Stadium during the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.”
TOKYO 2020 President Yoshiro Mori commented, “In six years from now, the new National Stadium will be the centrepiece of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and will play host to the world’s elite athletes. I am looking forward to joining the many fans that will gather here then to welcome the world, and to communicate the power and the values of sport and the Olympic Movement not only to the people of Japan, but to people across the entire planet.”
He continued, “The new stadium will be a legacy for future generations, and I hope the people of Japan will join us in uniting their efforts to ensure that the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are a resounding success.”
The landmark new National Stadium will also be used for matches during the 2019 Rugby World Cup, as well as hosting the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletics, football and rugby competitions during the 2020 Olympic Games.