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Athletes warn of excessive heat during Summer Olympics.

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Photo: olympics

According to a new report, athletes are worried about the excessive heat during the Paris Summer Olympic Games. They fear rising temperatures will harm competitors’ and spectators’ health and performance.

The paper states that average Summer Olympics temperatures have risen by more than 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) since the last Games were staged in Paris in 1924. A 0.5 degree Celsius rise in core body temperature can increase a person’s heartbeat by ten beats per minute. That could lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke without treatment.

Climate change makes summers hotter, making outdoor competitions riskier. Advocates say more must be done to protect athletes and fans, especially with the Paris Games predicted to be hot.

“Athletes collapsing during or after competitions remind us of this threat and climate change’s impact on sports.”

In the report, Athletics Kenya president J.K. Tuwei says heat impacts put athletes at a competitive disadvantage by disturbing sleep and requiring them to practice earlier and earlier into the morning to avoid the worst temperatures. But what happens after that if we don’t act quickly on climate change scares me the most. This hazard and climate change’s influence on sports is highlighted by incidents like players collapsing during or after tournaments.

The nonprofit British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS), which represents significant sports clubs and venues, released the report today. Climate Central and University of Portsmouth physiologists Mike Tipton and Jo Corbett contributed to the report. Nearly two dozen great athletes—track & field champions, rowers, footballers, marathon swimmers, and others—shared their experiences with extreme heat.

New Zealand men’s doubles bronze medalist Marcus Daniell talked about how hard it was to stay hydrated in the heat and humidity at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He states in the report that headaches and tiredness are “normal” during the Games.

It feels like the buildup to a nasty flu—shivery, odd, hot, and chilly. Your mouth is disgustingly dry, and your thoughts are scattered. Due to our tendency to push themselves, athletes often don’t know when to stop, which is harmful.

… I’m worried. At competitions, double-digit heatstroke withdrawals occurred in a day. Not how sports should be played.”

The study quotes British marathon swimmer Amber Keegan as saying swimmers diving into hotter seas face risks. After American swimmer Fran Crippen died in a dangerously hot open water race in the UAE in 2010, World Aquatics (previously FINA) imposed an upper limit of 31 degrees Celsius (87.8 degrees Fahrenheit) for open water swimming.

Extreme heat causes cramps, tiredness, and vomiting, which is exceedingly awful because you’re losing nourishment from the race. It would be best if you didn’t waste energy cooling off when you can swim faster.

Performance apart, if you can’t think properly, you won’t make a safe judgment about whether you’re overheating and should leave. You must raise your hand and say, “Get me out.” Safety support is available.


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