The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris could break heat records. Does this put athletes at risk?

The risk of a heat wave is looming all over the world Olympic Games in Paris.

The last Summer Olympics in Tokyo were the hottest in history, but a new report on heat risks at the Paris Olympics warns this year could be even hotter.

Since the last time Paris hosted the Summer Games, in 1924, the average temperature at that time of year has risen by about 3.1 degrees Celsius (or about 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit).

Heat waves have increased in frequency and intensity in Paris. The “urban heat island effectwith urban areas tending to be warmer than rural areas, has only exacerbated the problem in the Paris region.

During a Parisian summer, temperatures can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit. On July 25, 2019, Paris reached its peak highest ever record temperature of 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit, almost exactly five years before the date before the Summer Olympics will begin.

As the world warms up due to climate changeAthletes and scientists are raising concerns about what this means for the future of the pinnacle of summer sports competition.

Last summer, more than 5,000 people died in France due to the sweltering heat.

“I'm still amazed at the timing of these Olympics,” said Kaitlyn Trudeau, senior climate science research associate at Climate Central. “We have seen such deadly heat waves in this exact location and at this exact time many times in recent history.”

The dangers to athletes competing and training in these conditions can range from heat cramps to collapsing from heat stroke.

James Farndale, a rugby player who has represented both Scotland and Great Britain, says he trained in heating chambers at a training base in Scotland before competing in the Dubai Seven. He warned that athletes are not conditioned to hold back, even in unsafe conditions.

“It's not in an athlete's DNA to quit and if the conditions are too dangerous I do think there is a risk of fatalities,” says Farnale.


The Olympic flame arrives in France ahead of the 2024 Paris Games

03:06

The Olympic Games in Tokyo had athletes nearly throw up and even faint at the finish line one in 100 athletes suffer from a heat-related illness.

One athlete at the Summer Olympics last summer expressed concerns about heat exhaustion mid-race. Daniel Medvedev, a top-five men's tennis player, took several medical timeouts during his tennis match before being asked if he could continue playing.

“I can finish the match, but I can die,” Medvedev replied. “If I die, will you be responsible?”

The increase of not only the temperature, but also the humidity contributes to the risk of heat stroke, according to Trudeau, who says it makes it harder for the body to sweat to cool down and regulate core temperature.

Organizers of the Paris Olympics say heat risks have been taken into account when planning outdoor sports, including scheduling early morning marathon and triathlon events. Contingency plans have been put in place to reschedule events each day depending on the heat and humidity. Any decision will be made on a sport-by-sport basis with the International Federation, according to a statement to CBS News from a Paris 2024 spokesperson.

These efforts to stay safe from the extreme heat will extend beyond the athletes to include fans, volunteers and employees. Spectators may bring their own water bottles. Free water refill points will be available throughout each venue, at a rate of one for every 300 spectators.

Paris 2024 has promised to deliver Olympic Games that are “more responsible, sustainable and inclusive”. Organizers emphasized reducing the carbon footprint by using pre-existing locations and using the metro and cycle paths to minimize emissions from travel.

One climate mitigation effort has raised concerns among athletes. The Olympic Village will not have air conditioning. A water-based cooling system will be used instead, but some athletes will bring their own air conditioners. The US, Great Britain, Australia, Denmark and Italy are all bring their own AC, with the Australian Olympic Committee calling its decision to install air conditioners in the athletes' rooms “strategic for high performance”, according to The guard.

'We have designed these buildings to be comfortable places to live in the summer, in 2024 and beyond. sun during the summer, and the facades, the insulation is really efficient,” said Yann Krysinski, who is responsible for the delivery of venues and infrastructure at Paris 2024. Reuters.

For interested countries, the Olympic Games will make “lower-emission mobile refrigeration units” available for rental, a Paris 2024 spokesperson said.

The commitment to climate-friendly games doesn't seem to extend to the sponsorship list. National Olympic and Paralympic team sponsors include British Gas for Team Great Britain; Hancock Prospecting, a mining company, for the Australian Olympic team; and Reliance Industries Limited, a petrochemical conglomerate, for the Indian Olympic Association.

Climate activists are encouraging athletes to speak out about their concerns about heat risk and climate change in general.

“One thing I really want sport to do here is be an alarm bell in this room about the consequences of a two to three degree warmer world on the lives of millions and billions of people,” Farndale says.

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