2020 Tokyo Olympics: Temperatures Soar Causing Track & Field Workers To Wear Gloves To Move Blocks

by Leanne Stahulak

The super-hot temperatures in Japan have already affected athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. Now, the workers at the event have had to adapt too.

On Thursday, People magazine reports that the temperature reached 90 degrees by 9:30 in the morning. Track and field workers at the Olympic Stadium were forced to wear gloves, announcers said, to move the wood hurdles and metal starting blocks for various events.

By midday, the temperature could get as high as 95 degrees, according to Weather.com. By that point, it could feel like 105 degrees outside. Several athletes wore ice vests, People said, in order to cool down after their events.

Athletes Speak Out About High Temps at Tokyo Olympics

Three-time Olympian Damian Warner told CNN that Tokyo has by far been the “hottest” Olympics he’s attended. The Canadian decathlete told reporters after the men’s decathlon on Wednesday that, “This (cooling vest) is a life-saver, like a life vest.

“It is hot out there, and for shot put there was no shade, so this was huge,” Warner said. “Having one of these and an umbrella kept us as cool as possible.”

He continued by saying, “It was kind of advertised that these were going to be the hottest Games ever. I am at my third Olympics, and I can verify that these are the hottest ones in which I have competed. We are trying to do whatever we can, staying hydrated and using all the cooling apparatus that we have. So far, I am good.”

He’s not the only one feeling the heat. American relay runner English Gardner told reporters that she was having breathing problems from the temperature and humidity. Garnder contracted COVID-19 earlier this year, and though she’s still recovering, she wanted to race in the Tokyo Olympics.

“I guess when you’re a champion you can’t really think about the outside sources,” Gardner said. “Everything is race day and that’s all we really have to concentrate on. We wanted to go out there and execute our hand-offs so we kinda blocked out the heat, blocked out the wonderful crowd that we heard out there and we just really got out and did our job.”

Even on the golf course, athletes suffered from the high temperatures. USA Today reports that American Nelly Corda felt “lightheaded” after the heat index reached 111 degrees on Wednesday.

“I think the mental aspect is probably the hardest just because you have to keep yourself hydrated and you kind of lose it a little out there,” Korda said. “When I was teeing up some balls, I definitely felt a little lightheaded. But I kept myself in it and made sure I drank a lot of electrolytes, too.”