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IOC moves 2020 Olympic marathon from Tokyo to Sapporo

TOKYO -- In a feud with the city of Tokyo over moving the 2020 Olympic marathon from the Japanese capital to Sapporo, the International Olympic Committee had its way. The marathon and race walks will go north to what the IOC hopes will make for a cooler race.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who angrily opposed the move in a head-on feud with the IOC, on Friday said she would accept the decision.

"We cannot agree with the final decision, but the IOC has the authority to change," Koike said on Friday in a meeting with IOC member John Coates. "The most important thing is to assure the success of next year's games."

One Japanese news report quoted her saying, "It was a painful decision, not an agreement."

"[The IOC and the city] can now return to the teamwork that has characterized the Tokyo Games," Coates said after meeting Koike.

The IOC abruptly announced the change two weeks ago without consulting Koike or many on the local organizing committee. An angry Koike called the decision a "shock" and pushed back.

IOC officials, in Tokyo this week to access preparations, met with Koike, the local organizing committee, and national government officials.

The IOC was not expected to budge -- and didn't.

Coates, the head of the inspection team in Tokyo, said the decision two weeks ago was made after IOC president Thomas Bach saw television scenes of runners collapsing in extreme heat in the marathons at the world track and field championships in Doha, Qatar.

The unilateral move has created bad feelings and offers a rare glimpse of behind-the-scenes disputes between the IOC and local Olympic organizers.

The IOC on Friday agreed that Tokyo will not have to pay for moving the marathon and race walks and that some expenses incurred by the city to organize the marathon could be reimbursed.

According to a national government audit report last year, Tokyo is spending about $25 billion to organize the Olympics. Organizing-committee officials disputed the figure, saying it is half that, raising the debate about what are -- and are not -- Olympic expenses.

All of it is taxpayer money except $5.6 billion from a privately financed operating budget.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.