By Mitch Phillips
TOKYO (Reuters) – Warming temperatures around the world could lead to a major reflection on when major sporting events should be held, World athletics federation president Sebastian Coe said Sunday after another brutal day for athletes in the men’s marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The marathon and racewalk were moved from Tokyo to the supposedly cooler northern city of Sapporo, but there was little relief, with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius even with early morning starts.
Heat and humidity were an issue in Tokyo, where especially endurance athletes – even those who are used to training in hot climates – have had extreme hardships.
“It was tough conditions and it’s quite possible that we’ll have the same temperatures in Paris in 2024,” Coe said.
“At the US tryouts in Eugene (home of next year’s World Athletics Championships), the temperature was above 40 degrees. It’s a challenge we will all have to face and will likely require a global conversation about the calendar and how we organize events.”
“I’m not a climatologist, but the reality is that, wherever we go, the new norm is to deal with really adverse weather conditions.”
The 1964 Tokyo Games were held in October, as well as those in Mexico City in 1968. Seoul 1988 and Sydney 2000 were in September, but the norm for cities in the northern hemisphere has been July or August.
Next year’s World Cup in Qatar was moved from mid-year to November/December to avoid the worst heat.
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