Olympics Vs. Extreme Weather: Tokyo’s Games May Be a Test Run
As summer heat and humidity increase with the intensity brought on by climate change, the current Tokyo games can act as a barometer for future Olympic cities on how to address extreme weather safety.
Though the big story this year was how the Tokyo 2020 Olympics would handle the COVID-19 epidemic, the increasingly rising heat levels are another clear and present danger. Summer in Japan can reach up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, forcing Olympic athletes to train under similar heat conditions just to prepare their bodies for the events. In fact, this year’s games have occurred during the hottest year on record for Japan.
How can future Summer Olympics host cities mitigate ever-rising temperatures, unpredictable weather, and potentially deadly physical threats to competitors, support staff, and spectators? Climate researchers recommend a few strategies, including:
Innovative Infrastructure – Tokyo has deployed a variety of technologies throughout the city to mitigate high temperatures, including roads that reflect heat, pavements that absorb water to stay cool, and relocating events to the cooler north, and
Factoring Extreme Heat Into Planning – Researchers recommend building heat considerations into the events themselves with added break times or even postponing the games to a later, dates and times (such as marathons at midnight), as well as providing cooling stations for staff.
One thing is clear: the Paris 2024 games need to start preparing now if they want to make their Olympics safe for everyone involved.