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Tokyo 2020: GB team faces challenge of heat as Olympics set to be hottest ever |  Olympic Games News


The GB team are looking to replicate the Rio 2016 medal harvest as they finished second behind the United States and ahead of China; Tokyo 2020 set to be hottest Olympics in history with temperatures over 30 and 80% humidity

Last update: 07/20/21 5:20 p.m.

Heat and humidity, two words to sow fear in the hearts of even the most accomplished Olympic athletes.

Covid notwithstanding, this is the biggest challenge the GB team face as they seek to replicate a Rio 2016 medal crop that saw them finish second overall, above the sporting superpower of China.

July and August are the hottest months of the year in Tokyo, and athletes have been told to expect temperatures in the mid-30s with 80% humidity, the suggestion is in fact that it could be slightly higher and that it could be the hottest Olympics in history.

“Expecting the worst, expecting it to be really hot, 30 degrees, it feels like 40 degrees,” said rower Rory Gibbs. Sky Sports News from inside their preparation camp.

“Really you just need to get out here ASAP and acclimatize yourself. You try not to use the air conditioning and get used to it when you can, but at the same time you want to recover during the night, so that’s kind of like finding balance. “

The medals in Tokyo may well be decided by whoever withstands the heat the best, and given their reputation for success based on marginal gains, it’s no surprise to learn that the GB team focused a lot of his sports science on strategies to help his athletes prepare to cope. with the conditions.

Tokyo 2020: GB team faces challenge of heat as Olympics set to be hottest ever |  Olympic Games News

Rory Gibbs (second from right) won the four-man A final at the 2019 European Rowing Championships

In the weeks leading up to the Games, endurance athletes in sports such as football, rugby sevens and hockey used innovative thermal chambers provided by the English Institute of Sport, where they were able to simulate the conditions. suffocating from Japan.

“At first it’s like walking into a sauna, it’s pretty pleasant, then it gets worse and worse, and hotter and hotter,” explains Ellie Rayer of the GB team’s hockey team, who spent five days at Bisham Abbey working in greenhouse tents for 90 minutes at a time.

“Obviously the sweat you drink a lot, your brain function is definitely going somehow, you feel a little foggy even though you like simple tasks.”

Tokyo 2020: GB team faces challenge of heat as Olympics set to be hottest ever |  Olympic Games News

The GB team won 67 medals at Rio 2016

Dr Victoria Downie, a performance scientist at EIS, says heat training helps athletes both physically and psychologically.

“The humidity adds a really tough layer of complication, which is why we’ve done so much more this time around than other Olympics that have been held in hot countries.

“When you also have moisture on top of that, it basically means that sweat cannot evaporate from the body, and this is the primary way the human body loses heat. So the more moisture is high, the less sweat can evaporate, which makes it really difficult to calm down.

Tokyo 2020: GB team faces challenge of heat as Olympics set to be hottest ever |  Olympic Games News

Team GB athletes arrived in Tokyo last week and are ready to start their adventure at the 2020 Olympics

“I can guarantee that the athletes we send will be as prepared as possible to face potentially extreme environments.”

Tokyo 2020 organizers have made efforts to protect athletes from the extreme heat with cooling fans and shaded tents at competition venues, with many athletes also planning to use ice vests to help them recover. refresh after the competition.

Sports like marathon and soccer have also been moved 600 miles north of Sapporo, where average temperatures tend to be cooler.

Tokyo 2020: GB team faces challenge of heat as Olympics set to be hottest ever |  Olympic Games News

Arsenal’s Kim Little is part of Hege Riise’s GB squad for Tokyo 2020 Olympic women’s football tournament

Team GB’s women’s soccer team took rehydration to another level as they chased a first Olympic medal, analyzing each player’s sweat to create individual drinks to replenish salt and blood levels. sugar during recovery.

“If you sweat more you have to drink more to get it back, to stay hydrated during the Games so that it doesn’t affect your physical performance,” says Arsenal and Scotland midfielder Kim Little, who is one of the three co-captains.

“We drink and not just water, you know, electrolytes, our food intake, to keep us hydrated. Our scientific and medical staff have made sure that everything is in place so that we all know that we are. let’s make sure we’re taking the right things to make sure we can be at our best on the pitch. “

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