Ice baths and 500 litres of slushies each day: how Olympians aim to beat Tokyo heat | Kieran Pender

Ice baths and 500 litres of slushies each day: how Olympians aim to beat Tokyo heat | Kieran Pender

The Guardian

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Extreme summer temperatures during this year’s Games are expected to have a huge impact

Since early 2020, the Tokyo Olympics have been inextricably linked with Covid-19. Even now, three months before the Games are due to begin, it remains unclear whether Australia’s athletes will be vaccinated in time, or, indeed, if the Olympics might be cancelled entirely. But long before the pandemic, another health risk was front of mind for Australian athletes, coaches and sport scientists. In the pursuit of gold, Tokyo’s extreme summer heat will pose just as much of an obstacle as the coronavirus.

When Tokyo last hosted a summer Games, in 1964, they were held in October. For good reason. The average high in July and August hovers around 30C – on warmer days, the temperature can exceed 35C. Each year, hundreds of Japanese people die from heat-related causes and thousands more are hospitalised. Add in the humidity that follows the rainy season and Olympic athletes can expect to swelter throughout the 2021 Games.

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