Sweltering Tokyo temperatures putting Olympic athletes at risk of heat stroke

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Sweltering Tokyo temperatures putting Olympic athletes at risk of heat stroke
Athletes battle Tokyo summer as staff suffer heat illness Reuters
  • Temperatures at the Olympic games have reached highs of 40 degrees Celcius.
  • Olympic athletes are at risk of heatstroke in these conditions.
  • Special measures are being put in place to mitigate the heat, including extended breaks and delayed starts.

Tokyo is seeing soaring temperatures - making the challenge of competing in the biggest sporting event in the world even harder for Olympic athletes.

The average temperature highs experienced at this time of year in Tokyo sit at around 31 degrees celsius - but track-side thermometers yesterday measured a baking 40 degrees with humidity at a broiling 60%.

As a result, athletes competing in the games are at risk of heatstroke.

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Bruno Schmidt, Brazilian 2016 gold medallist in beach volleyball, said "The first two weeks here are one of the hottest that I had in my life, believe it or not," Reuters reported.

Adaptations are having to be made in order to ensure the safety and comfort of Olympians.

For example, after tennis world No. 2, Russia's Daniil Medvedev, warned officials a player "can die" in the heat - the start time of the game was delayed in the hope for a cooler climate to compete in.

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In addition, Hockey players have been given double the usual number of two-minute breaks during their games.

At the equestrian cross-country course, France's Karim Florent Laghouag sported an ice vest, a wet towel, and bags of ice around his neck when he was speaking to the press after his game.

So far, 30 people involved in the games have suffered from heat-related illnesses - but only with mild symptoms Games director-general, Toshiro Muto said at a press conference.

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"Before the outset of the coronavirus problem, the important issue for the Tokyo Games was a response to heat illness," Muto said. "We looked into all sorts of scenarios to take thorough measures. I believe our steps have been working well so far."

The 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics were held in October in order to dodge the sweltering temperatures.

It has now been found, according to a 2020 study by a Games adviser, that Tokyo has the highest average temperature and humidity of any host city - with Tokyo's five hottest days since 1964 falling within the period of this year's games.

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In 2018, 138 people died from heat-related illnesses from a mass heatwave that was referred to as a "natural disaster."

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