OLYMPIC ATHLETES CONCERNED ABOUT CLIMATE
At the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, more than 100 Olympians from 10 countries signed a petition urging world leaders to take action to address climate change on a global scale.
Athletes have noticed rising temperatures affecting their sports and failure to address climate change could jeopardise winter sports and the Winter Olympics. In 2014, temperatures in Sochi reached 68 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the warmest winter games in history.
Olympic Biathlon Athlete, Cross Country Skiing. 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City. Photo Credit: Pixabay
IT'S NOT COLD ENOUGH
By the 2080s, only six of the 19 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics would be cold enough to do it again if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t significantly curtailed.
Internationally renowned Olympic sites, such as Squaw Valley (USA), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), Vancouver (Canada) and Sochi (Russia) would no longer have climates suitable to reliably host the Games by the middle of the 21st century.
Poor weather is highlighted as one the greatest challenges faced by Olympic Organizing Committees.
The Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, is the warmest city ever to host the Winter Olympics. NASA Goddard Flight Centre photo
IT'S JUST TOO HOT...AND GETTING HOTTER
Outdoor sports records could become much harder to break due to increased temperatures. Hot temperatures and air pollution are already interfering with athletic performance.
Already, marathon times are 2 minutes slower on average for every 10 degree Fahrenheit that temperature rises which interferes with athletic performance. Optimal temperature for running a fast marathon is 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a preliminary race-walking competition before the 2016 Olympic games began, 11 out of 18 competitors suffered from heat-related injuries. One athlete even passed out.
Marathon runner enduring hot weather conditions in competition. Photo Credit: Pixabay
Extreme weather and heat. Shot at Smithsonian. Photo Credit: Sakeeb Sabakka
Collapsed runner, 'Rick' 6795, 700m from the finish line, being attended to by police and runner 5516. Photo Credit: Dan (Flickr)
Concerns about Zika virus were widely voiced in the lead up to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with a number of leading athletes pulling out of the games due to health fears.
According to the World Health Organization the effects of El Niño could cause increases in diseases spread by mosquitoes, including malaria, dengue, chikungunya and the Zika virus. As it is likely that climate change increases the impacts of El Niño this could present further problems in future.
Photo credits: Pixabay
HARDER TO BREATHE
Air pollution in Olympic host cities can affect athletic performance. Sulfur oxides in the air which are a result of coal power plants, a culprit of climate change, decrease athletic performance. Exposure to pollutants generally leads to a predictable, linear drop in the ability to take in oxygen.
In Olympic host cities such as Rio and Los Angeles, for example, poor air quality makes high-performance outdoor sports difficult— even deadly. Each year, thousands of Rio’s citizens die from complications air pollution, which is tied to lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and asthma.
Air pollutants cause smog to cover Shanghai, China, which previously hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. Photo Credit: Pixabay
Athlete uses anti-pollution masks to prevent against respiratory diseases. Photo Credit: Pixabay
The increased temperatures can also worsen inequalities existing today in high performance sport. Competitors may be able to adapt to the heat by using clothes and sports equipment that are increasingly advanced and expensive - therefore out of reach for poor youth, which now face difficulties in joining the sporting career.
Kids sit on sideline during football match. High-tech clothes and equipment can help athletes adapt to heat but can be expensive. Pixabay
ATHLETES ARE TAKING CLIMATE ACTION
Olympic athletes around the world recognise the threat that climate change is posing to their sports and their livelihoods so they are taking action by joining the #1o5C campaign to limit temperature rise.
#1.5C...THE RECORD WE MUST NOT BREAK
Olympic weightlifters Jenly Wini and Luiza Peters from Solomon and Cook Islands. Photo Credit: #1o5C campaign
KimiaYousofi, Olympic Sprinter from Afghanistan. Photo Credit: #1o5C Campaign
Mathlynn Sasser, Olympic weightlifter from Marshall Islands. Photo:#1o5C Campaign
Members of United Kingdom Olympic Rowing Team. Photo Credit: #1o5C campaignMembers of United Kingdom Olympic Rowing Team. Photo Credit: #1o5C campaign
Sudan Olympic Swimming Team. Photo Credit: #1o5C campaign
Marina Werneck, Brazilian Olympic surfer, champions the #1o5C campaign. Photo Credit: #1o5C campaign
FOOTNOTES: Cover Photo: A view of rapidly decreasing glaciers in the Alps near Bern, Switzerland. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré; Photo of Sochi, Russia: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.
Read the original article at https://climatevulnerableforum.exposure.co/the-olympic-challenge