It is only a year away from the 2020 Olympics, and Tokyo, the capital of Japan, will host the competition. Although it’s a wonderful city, Olympic organizers have some concerns about one issue that they can’t control: the heat, which has the ability to significantly derail the games. So why are Olympic organizers so concerned, and what do they plan to do about it?
How Tokyo got the 2020 Olympic Games
The International Olympic Committee announced Tokyo as the host of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games on September 7, 2013. The Committee selected the capital of Japan over competing cities including Rome, Doha, Baku, and Madrid. They selected Tokyo, Istanbul, and Madrid as the final three candidate cities.
There is a 13-hour time difference between Tokyo and the East Coast of America, yet NBC still plans to offer live and taped coverage of the events. The games will take place from July 24 through August 9, 2020.
Why are the organizers concerned about heat
According to an report of ESPN, rising temperatures in Japan have caused 57 deaths and more than 1,800 people have been hospitalized with heat-related symptoms since late July. The temperature in Tokyo has remained above 88 degrees Fahrenheit since July 24, 2019. As mentioned, July 24, 2020 is the day the 2020 Summer Olympics will begin in Tokyo.
JMA scientific officer Tomoyuki Kitamura told ESPN that the city suffers from a ‘heat island effect’ with concentrated heat in cities preventing them from cooling off at night. In addition, Tokyo has a massive population of more than 9 million, compounding the issue as well.
Therefore, it’s a serious health concern, especially when a great deal of the Olympic sports will take place outdoors. The heat can hurt not only the athletes’ performances but also their physical well-being. Japan’s capital last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964 when the games were moved to October in order to accommodate heat concerns.
What the Olympic organizers plan to do about it
The Olympic organizers don’t plan to take this lying down. They have been working on countermeasures to mitigate the heat at events. They already made some scheduling changes in advance. In an attempt to beat the blistering late-afternoon temperatures, Tokyo will hold the men’s 50km race-walk at 5:30 a.m and the men’s and women’s marathon at 6:00 a.m..
The organizers are also experimenting with other plans such as cooling off the sand with water from firefighter-grade hoses, implementing a number of tools, including electric fans, reflective coating material, and misting towers.