It seems crazy to talk about what weather we can expect this time next year because there is literally no way to predict what it is going to be. However it has been coming up a lot in conversation lately, and there is a good reason – if predictions stay accurate and historical data is to be believed, next summer will be just as hot.
And that’s bad news for the Olympic Athletes competing in the 2020 games, set to take place in Tokyo. It’s hard enough to compete at that high of a level, but when you add in something like unbearable heat and humidity, it increases the difficulty tenfold.
If you think that heat doesn’t matter when performing, you would be wrong. French researchers did a study in 2012 that specifically looked at how temperatures affected marathon performances. They analyzed 9 years of data in the study itself, so they had a pretty big data pool to look at.
The results said that the most impactful thing to a runners’ finishing time was air temperature. The ideal temperature for both women was just under 50 degrees Fahrenheit, while men performed best around 43 degrees.
The ideal temperature isn’t a joke, either – performance sharply falls for these runners when the temperature increases. At 85 degrees, women’s performances dropped 13.48%, while men saw a 6% drop.
When you are talking about Olympic athletes that have trained for this moment their whole life, that is a huge percentage.
Officials have already moved the times for the marathon run after realizing just how hot the summer might be. The marathon times are now scheduled for 6 am, with men running on August 9th and the women on August 2nd.
The hope for moving the times is that they will still be able to run in natural light, but the oppressive heat that the summer will bring won’t be so crippling. Running in the peak summer sun could be deadly in that weather.
It’s expected to be between 80 and 90 degrees next summer in Tokyo, which is going to be incredibly hot. Especially for athletes that hail from countries that normally see cooler temperatures, even in summer.
Last year wasn’t a great year for Japan when the weather is concerned. In July of 2018, the country saw a record-breaking heatwave that killed at least 138 people and put over 70,000 more in the hospital for heatstroke.
It’s too early to say if we can expect those temperatures, but it isn’t unheard of for a heatwave to happen around that time in the summer. The weather in Tokyo next year is going to play a huge part in how these incredible athletes perform.