Olympics athletes to suffer alongside Tokyoites as Japan heat soars

TOKYO – Many of the world’s top athletes will suffer along with Tokyoites in the “ridiculous” heat of Japan’s high summer, as the Olympic Games start this week in sweltering temperatures, posing an added burden for all the visiting participants.

Japan’s weather bureau issued heat-stroke alerts for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday (July 21). The temperature in the capital, now in the throes of another hot and humid summer, was 33.1 degrees Celsius as of 3.00pm.

Organisers are rolling out tools to beat the heat, including mist-spraying stations for Olympic horses and cooling vests for referees. But the heat adds another complication for coaches and players whose training has already been impacted by the pandemic.

“The Japanese summer is abnormal. There’s humidity and the heat is ridiculous,” said Misuzu Ueno, a 24-year-old Tokyo resident. “This climate is not suitable for the Olympics.”

The head coach of the New Zealand men’s hockey team, Darren Smith, said there had been “a heck of a lot of work done” to prepare for the sizzling conditions, which are expected to be especially challenging during morning matches.


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