Economy

Chariots of Fire: The Olympics confront a warming world

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

By Justin Sharon

(Justin Sharon is a longtime freelance writer. After working at Merrill Lynch for many years, he transitioned to financial journalism. Among other subjects, he also authors a monthly column about British soccer.)

NEW YORK (Callaway Climate Insights) — Ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics, most of the world’s focus has been on the growing Covid-19 case rate among assembled athletes. Yet lurking under the radar — Doppler and otherwise — is another dire development, less commented upon but an existential threat to the very future of the games itself. The sweltering summer of 2021, having already inflicted 116°F. heat on Oregon and pushed the mercury in Canada beyond that of Dubai, is now set to serve up the hottest Olympics in history.

Organizers of the pandemic-postponed athletic extravaganza, scheduled to run from July 23 to Aug. 8, have already made several climate-related concessions to those events deemed most susceptible to the Japanese capital’s notorious summertime heat and humidity. (Seasonal conditions in the city are so oppressive that an Olympics construction worker died in 2019 of suspected heatstroke). . . . more

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