Athletes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have already struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic and huge heat waves. Now, torrential rain and a typhoon threaten the Games.
According to Daily Mail, Tropical Storm Nepartak could hit Japan as soon as Tuesday, bringing with it torrential rain and 56 mph winds.
Rowing heats have already been bumped up to today from Monday so they don’t get canceled or postponed. Other outdoor sports might face similar schedule changes in the future if the rains bear down in full force. The only sport that really benefits from the coming typhoon is the brand new surfing competition.
“There are going to be good waves. There’s a strong typhoon off the coast of Japan and we know that the waves are getting bigger,” said Fernando Aguerre, International Surfing Association president. The event started yesterday and will last three days, depending on weather conditions.
The surfing competition takes place at Tsurigasaki Surf Beach, about 40 miles east of Tokyo. Australian surfer Owen Wright took to Instagram to talk about the surfing conditions after his first practice session. “It’s small, but there is swell on the way! Let’s go,” he wrote.
Japan’s Massive Heat Wave Impacts Athletes for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
This year’s Olympic athletes are already used to adjusting their gameplay because of the weather. For the past few days, Japan’s summer heatwaves have smothered competitors with high humidity and even higher temperatures.
Yesterday, the thermometers in Tokyo read a whopping 93 degrees Fahrenheit, with 80% humidity, according to CNN. Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic might have beat Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien yesterday in the first round of men’s singles, but the heat definitely took a toll.
“Very tough,” Djokovic told CNN. “Today, from also speaking to the other players, it was the hottest day so far. Because it’s very hot and also very humid, so the hard courts absorb the heat, and it stays trapped in there.”
The tennis players couldn’t catch any breaks from the heat either, while they were playing out on the court.
“Not much wind, not much breeze. Maybe other days there was a bit more wind, which helped refresh and cool down, but not much today,” the Serbian tennis icon said. “So it was challenging definitely, but I’m pleased to overcome the first hurdle.”
Not all 2020 Tokyo Olympics tennis players struggled with the heat, though. Greece’s Maria Sakkari had no trouble defeating Estonian player Anett Kontaveit yesterday, despite the weather conditions.
“It’s great to play in these conditions,” Sakkari said. “I grew up playing in the heat. Maybe not that humid, but heat is the way we grew up playing in Greece, and I actually embrace that.”
Tennis wasn’t the only sport to take a hit. The Daily Mail also reported that the Olympics postponed beach volleyball practice sessions last week because “players complained the sand was too hot for their bare feet.”
We’ll see how the heat waves mix in with the coming rain and typhoon this coming week.