The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday announced that they have decided to shift the venue of the Olympic marathon and race walking events to Sapporo. The reasoning behind the move to the country's northern region is that it is much cooler and will thus help athletes in the specified events.
The IOC statement read, "The move to Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan, will mean significantly lower temperatures for the athletes during the Olympic Games. In Sapporo, temperatures during the Games are as much as five to six degrees centigrade cooler during the day than in Tokyo, which is more than 800 kilometers further south. The plans are part of a wide range of measures already being taken by Tokyo 2020 in consultation with the IOC and the International Federations to mitigate the effects of the temperatures which may occur next summer. The IOC has informed World Athletics about the proposed changes. This latest initiative by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 comes on top of other heat countermeasures which are already planned and being implemented on the recommendations of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission Adverse Weather Impact Expert Working Group (the IOC Working Group). These measures are:
Rugby: all morning games scheduled to finish before 12 p.m.
Cycling: mountain bike start time delayed to 3 p.m.
The Committee will be holding a meeting on the measures on October 30 and November 1.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Athletes’ health and well-being are always at the heart of our concerns. A range of measures to protect the athletes have already been announced. The new far-reaching proposals to move the marathon and race walking events show how seriously we take such concerns. The Olympic Games are the platform where athletes can give ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ performances, and these measures ensure they have the conditions to give their best. I would like to thank World Athletics, and we look forward to working with them on the implementation.”
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be taking place between July 24 and August 9.