TOKYO – Japanese summers are known for their oppressive and sometimes deadly blend of heat and moisture. In late July and early August, more than 1,000 people, including more than 150 in Tokyo, died of heat-related causes in the past two years. Tens of thousands were hospitalized.
This kind of heat prompted the Olympic organizers in 1964 to postpone the Summer Olympics to October. These games started October 10, 55 years ago in Tokyo.
Next year, when the Summer Olympics return to the Japanese capital, they will be open on July 24 and through August 9. It will not require an unusual heat wave to make it the hottest Olympic Games in history, endangering athletes and spectators, workers and volunteers. However, when the 2020 Summer Games were awarded to Tokyo in 201
Why was it so important to put her on stage in the middle of summer?
"Said Dick Pound, a longtime member of the Olympic Committee and former chairman of the Committee for Television Negotiations.
Officially, the Olympic Schedule is dictated by the IOC But because nearly three-quarters of IOC revenue comes from broadcasting rights, and about half of these rights are paid by the American broadcaster NBC. The US sports calendar tends to have an excessive impact on Olympic planning with baseball and football dominating American TV screens in September and October, while July and August are relative Gaps.
The Summer Olympics were last held outside the July-August window in 2000, when the Sydney Games were held at the end of September, and have been the least visited summer games in the US in recent decades.
Since then the Olympic Committee informed candidate cities that d The summer games must take place between the 15th of July and the 31st of August, except for "exceptional circumstances. "
The committee offers a number of explanations for this narrow window, including a desire to align with the calendars of various sports organizations and attract people like the NBA players in their off-season."
"It's just a question of whether ]said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, in an interview with The New York Times, and the Olympics are known for the power of television in making Olympic decisions.
The most serious weighted variable in today's business world, "said Terrence Burns, a consultant who helped five cities bid for the Olympics.
The last serious bidder to suggest alternative dates for the Summer Olympics was Doha, who also applied for the 2020 deadline and proposed October to Kat ars exceptional summer temperatures to avoid. An I.O.C. The Working Committee which reviewed the proposals of five potential host cities, gave Doha good marks in most areas, but highlighted the October deadlines as a problem. The committee concluded that "the overall impact on broadcasting and the Olympic experience of viewers / audiences described above would be significant and could have long term implications."
Doha was soon excluded from the discussion. Qatar officials accused American television.
"There is no question that television, especially NBC, is the largest fish in the pond that gets what they want," said Burns, the longtime Olympic adviser. "The IOC I'll tell you they do not, but they do, but do you know what? They pay the freight."
NBC, which holds the United States media rights to the Olympics until 2032, gave that it does not dictate the schedule.
"Our goal is to always present the games as comprehensively as possible to the public whenever the IOC and the host city decide to put them on stage," NBC said in one Statement: "Our confidence in the Olympics is so great that we have repeatedly acquired the rights to several games without knowing when or where they will take place."
Tokyo has not tempted fate and offered dates that responded to the parameters of the Olympic Committee, and its bid has downplayed all concerns over the heat.
"With many days of mild and sunny weather, this period provides an ideal climate for Spor to do their best, "the proposal says.
The committee concluded: "Meteorological The conditions during the planned season would be appropriate. "
Richard Peterkin, member of the Olympic Committee from 2009 to 2018, said," With all the applications and presentations I've heard, it just never turned up.
Now it dominates the conversation.
Cooling a Hot City
Tokyo is one of the hottest cities in the world, according to Masahide Kimoto, professor of meteorology at the University of Tokyo, according to Masahide Kimoto during the summer months of the Olympics Warm winds from the south and humid air from the sea make Tokyo extremely humid in eastern Japan.
The next year's Olympic Games are scheduled for the hottest summer days immediately after the rainy season.
"It's like sitting in a large sauna bath two months after the end of the rainy season, "wrote a long-time Tokyo guy named Robert Whiting in 2014 in a commentary for the Japan Times in which he bid against an August.
The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are giving millions of Dollars to make the games safe and comfortable for athletes, fans, workers, and volunteers next summer.
The ideas are enough n sensible to silly and all cost yen or dignity. sometimes both.
Tents with chairs and water nebulas are set up between subway stations and sports facilities. At outdoor events, the organizers announce that they will be distributing small fans, paper sunshades and ice bags. Fans may be allowed to bring their own drinks to venues, 30 of which are outdoors and most are out of the shadows.
The 42km marathon track is being redesigned with a material called Perfect Cool, which uses tiny ceramic beads to reflect heat. The researchers wonder if one of these measures will bring much relief. For example, road renewal could lower the surface temperature by 10 degrees Celsius on sunny, sizzling days. However, a government analysis revealed that there is virtually no cooling effect at head level.
There are no plans to use it anywhere else in the Olympics, for example, in the places where fans gather or stand in queues.
Some outdoor events, such as the marathon, will start at dawn to defeat the heat of the day moisture. A similar strategy was recently used at the World Athletics Championships in Doha where 40 percent of the women's field broke off a stifling marathon that began at midnight. The 16-day Olympic timetable leaves room for events to be postponed by typhoons due to heat or wind and rainfall, which is secondary for planners.
Test events last summer offered a possible preview. In a triathlon in August, the running share of women was halved due to dangerous heat. The athletes were also treated to beach volleyball and rowing because of heat problems.
Beyond the athletes, the concerns are due to millions of fans, many of whom are not used to the summers in Tokyo, and thousands of volunteers – about a third are expected or older at 50, the organizers said – and other employees , Last summer, a 50-year-old construction worker was found unconscious near the media center for the games. His death was attributed to a heat stroke.
For various reasons, it is difficult to figure out how much more money organizers will spend in Tokyo to cool down the Midsummer Olympics instead of performing them in the spring or fall. However, the Tokyo metropolitan government said it spends about two billion yen (about $ 18.7 million) on the installation of spectator tents and other cooling measures.
At a canoe event in early September, the organizers turned spectators over with artificial snow that was supposed to feel soft flakes. The result was more like shards of shaved ice that people have drenched in minutes.
Officials have also suggested that shopkeepers in Tokyo keep doors open to skip the air conditioning.
The I.O.C. and NBC
All this could have been avoided if Tokyo had proposed and allowed to host the 2020 Summer Olympics in a month like October. Thursday's forecast predicted a clear sky and a high of 76 degrees (though a typhoon threatened in the late season). 1968 took place in Mexico City and 1988 in Seoul in October, the summer games.
Then came the Sydney Games and their relatively short television audience. Since then, the Summer Olympics have taken place between 15 July and 31 August, as have Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.
said the Bid Consultant and reiterated the advice of other experts.
Doha tried to test the rules and failed. Will someone else? Brisbane, Australia, is an early contender for the 2032 Summer Olympics, although officials have not yet proposed dates.
Climate change removes several potential venues for the Winter Games, but even cities that used to host the Summer Olympics may become increasingly unsuitable.
In August in Tokyo before the Summer Games in 1964, the average was at The daytime temperature was 26.6 degrees Celsius, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
In the last 10 of August in Tokyo the average daily temperature was 28.0 degrees Celsius.
"Because of climate change, we may need to take a look at the overall calendar and see if there is a shift," said Bach.
For the IOC, such a shift could affect future television negotiations. In 2014, NBC agreed to pay $ 7.75 billion in for the broadcasting rights to the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics between 2022 and 2032. Three years earlier, she agreed to pay $ 4.38 billion for the four 2014-2020 Olympics.
No one else can earn this revenue for the Olympic Committee. They are about twice as high as the television rights from Europe and three times as high as from Asia.
The final decision, of course, lies with the Olympic Committee. And there are other reasons why midsummer makes sense. Summer vacation plans help the volunteer armies and relieve the public transport. The next year's Olympic Games overlap with a popular holiday season in Japan.
However, the foundation for this is the IOC Charter (19459017), which requires Article 48 of the Committee that "the various media and the IOC ensure the widest possible coverage. The widest possible audience. "
In the heat of next summer, some may remember that in October 1964, the last time the Tokyo Summer Olympics took place, the weather was cold and wet. People complained about that, too. But nobody died of it.
Makiko Inoue and Eimi Yamamitsu reported from Tokyo and Matthew Futterman from New York.