Day 11 of postponed Tokyo Games finally brings summer heat
TOKYO— Tuesday would have been Day 11 of the 2020 Olympics. And it finally brought what was feared the most before the pandemic postponed the games for a year: A hot and humid Tokyo summer day.
After some showers and mild temperatures for the first 10 days, Tuesday temperatures reached a muggy 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit). The forecast through Sunday, which would have been the final day, calls temperatures in the same range.
Last summer in Tokyo was brutal with heat consistently brushing 38C (100F), leading organizers to test heat countermeasures at numerous events.
It was such a worry that the International Olympic Committee pressured Tokyo organizers to move the marathons and race walks to the northern city of Sapporo, which is 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Tokyo.
Masa Takaya, spokesman for the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, during an on-line briefing on Tuesday said there was a “small group” of officials still looking at heat countermeasures this time.
“Obviously, we have no major sporting events in place,” Takaya said. “In that respect we do not have any testing programs.”
He said so-called “WBGT” tests — WetBulb Globe Temperature — were being conducted to measure the conditions.
“We will obviously leverage the outcome of this examination to next year in the lead up to the games,” he said.
Takaya reiterated that it will be several months before Tokyo organizers begin to reveal publicly how they will be able to open the Olympics on July 23, 2021. This would include details about possible quarantines, vaccines, testing, medical treatment, and lodging.
This could also include details on the costs of postponement. Officials have not given any estimate, but reports in Japan put the cost at $2 billion to $6 billion. This is on top of official expenditures of $12.6 billion. A government audit says the costs are actually twice that much.
“We do not have any deadline as such to decide how the games should be organized. Concrete discussions will be rolled out this autumn,” Takaya said.
IOC President Thomas Bach said the preference would be to have some fans at the events. He has not said if this means foreign fans, or Japanese fans only.
“Tokyo 2020 is not willing to see the games without spectators, either,” Takaya said. “In that respect we will keep monitoring the situation carefully on COVID-19.”
Japan has attributed just over 1,000 deaths to COVID-19.
Tokyo has seen its daily cases climb in the last several weeks. It reported declines on Sunday and Monday, but had an increase on Tuesday to 309 new cases.
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