Fri, Sep 06, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Organizers to test snow to cool Tokyo Olympics

AFP, TOKYO

Tokyo Olympics organizers have already rolled out everything from misting stations to flowerbeds to beat the heat at next year’s Games, and now they want to let it snow.

Organizers yesterday confirmed that they plan to test the use of artificial snow at a canoe event later this month as they look for novel ways to keep spectators and athletes cool during Tokyo’s notoriously steamy summer months.

“Artificial snow will be sprayed over spectator seating,” some of which might be in direct sunlight, during a canoeing event on Friday next week that would serve as a test for the Olympics, a Tokyo Games spokeswoman told reporters.

“We haven’t decided definitively that we will use this system next year for the Olympics, but we want to test it to see how effective it is,” she said.

“We’re open to trying all potentially useful ideas,” she added, when asked about possible criticism of the environmental side effects of the method.

The test would use small snowmaking machines to produce about 1 tonne of snow per day, Japan Broadcasting Corp said, adding that officials from the organizing committee would attend in spectator stands to judge the technique’s effectiveness.

Olympic organizers have been on the offensive over concerns that holding the Games during summer months when Tokyo regularly reaches 35°C with 80 percent humidity would be unsafe.

They have already tested measures including misting stations, air-conditioned cooling tents and even rows of potted flowers along the routes of lines — thought to psychologically cool spectators.

Last month, athletes were given permission to loosen their life jackets because of the heat at a sailing event, while a French competitor was treated for heatstroke during a triathlon event.

The last time Japan hosted the Summer Olympics, in 1964, the competition was held in October to avoid the hot summer conditions.

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