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Syncope, pollution, heat stroke: how the climate crisis threatens the Tokyo Olympics

TThe upcoming Tokyo Olympics may have avoided the worst of one crisis by postponing it to Covid’s heyday, but it cannot escape another existential threat of global warming.

According to a new report from the British Sustainable Sports Association BASIS, the climate crisis has hit almost every event in the game in Tokyo, which has already experienced more severe heating than most parts of the globe. Affect.

“Nothing is more passionate, motivating and engaging than sports,” wrote Mara Yamauchi, a former British Olympic marathoner, before the BASIS report. “In some way, most of us love it, but when climate change is advancing rapidly, as we know, we have potentially widespread consequences for sports. There is a risk. “

The widespread effects of the climate crisis up to this point (rising sea levels, shrinking ice caps, drastic changes in weather, agriculture) are well known, but they also pose very specific risks to elite athletes in Tokyo. ..

The so-called “heat island” of Tokyo has been warming three times faster than the rest of the world since 1900. Japan faced multiple deadly heat waves between 2018 and 2020, and scientists warn that it “couldn’t have happened” without a global scale. heating.

This all means that athletes are at increased risk of heat stroke, malaise, dehydration, cognitive dysfunction, and the health effects of mixing air pollution and hotter climates in Tokyo’s cities. Para-Olympic athletes also face many challenges, from increased exposure to heat from approaching the hot ground in wheelchairs to skin problems in the prosthesis during extreme heat.

Athletes have been sounding alarms for some time. Jonny Brownlee, a triathlete who overheated at the finish line of the 2016 Triathlon World Series in Mexico, was helped by his brother Alistair, who himself blacked out of the heat at a race in London in 2010. I had to.

“There are many matches and many players. Men, women, doubles and mixed doubles,” said tennis star Novak Djokovic in 2019. I find it very difficult for an organization to come up with an appropriate schedule to avoid the maximum heat, but how can I really do that? That is the problem. The heat will be very tough for players, fans and anyone in the stadium. ”

However, according to BASIS founder Dr. Russell Seymour, the 2021 game leads the problem to a new remedy, showing “a broader representation of the threat that climate change poses to all of us.”

“Science is clear, and the real-world effects of extreme heat, droughts, storms, floods, and unprecedented levels of pollution exacerbations are becoming more and more lively experiences for millions of people.” He said. “Climate change is with us, and without deep and urgent action, it would be even worse. Even denials no longer deny it.”

Mitigate threats to athletes with extra cooling breaks, dressage horse fan mist, water spray on cycling trails, race rerouting or rescheduling to avoid the worst summer heat in Japan There are potential mitigation strategies.

But in the end, the BASIS report concludes that these are not enough to dent the entire problem.

“Ultimately, the biggest changes come with the biggest challenge: reducing the behaviors and causes that contribute to rising temperatures and the ever-increasing trend of unpredictable weather patterns,” the author writes. ..

Here, the International Olympic Committee is working on some bold climate goals, but like other major international organizations, there are caveats to its climate agenda.

The 2024 game in Paris aims to be “carbon positive,” and carbon offsets and other measures are more than just balancing the carbon emissions from the game, but the Olympics. It is strange that thousands of tourists gather due to the factors of each host city. For such an analysis.

Plans are still relatively calm when it comes to game companies and sponsors that emit cumulatively more carbon than the Olympics and their corps of fans.

“Paris 2024 encourages commercial partners and suppliers to apply sustainability and carbon-neutral standards to 100% of game purchases as part of a responsible sourcing strategy,” the IOC said of the Carbon Positive Strategy. I am writing in the announcement.

If recent history is a guide, encouragement was not enough to stop the climate crisis.

Syncope, pollution, heat stroke: how the climate crisis threatens the Tokyo Olympics

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