The snow was slightly coarser than some were expecting Photo: AFP
sports

Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizers test fake snow to beat the heat

28 Comments
By Toshifumi Kitamura

Tokyo 2020 organizers blasted volunteers with fake snow on Friday as they trial ever more extreme ways to beat the heat ahead of the Olympic Games.

But instead of light fluffy snowflakes, the crowd, consisting mainly of Tokyo 2020 staff, was pelted with fairly coarse shards of shaved ice at the canoeing test event.

And ironically, after several weeks of almost unbroken heat and humidity, Friday saw temperatures in the Japanese capital drop sharply -- no doubt a relief to millions of Tokyo commuters and players training for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.

"We are trying everything possible to ease heat risks," said Taka Okamura, from the 2020 organizing committee.

"This is not meant to cool the entire atmosphere but have spectators feel refreshed when the flakes of ice touch them," added Okamura, who acknowledged that the system needed some refinement.

One problem became immediately apparent after the volunteers were doused in 300 kilograms of snow in a matter of minutes: the "spectators" were quickly soaked through and the floor became slippery -- resulting in one journalist taking a tumble.

Okamura played down any environmental risks from the system -- such as CO2 emissions from the machine -- and declined to reveal its cost. Tokyo 2020 officials have admitted in the past that anti-heat measures will swell the budget for the Games.

Tokyo 2020 organizers have largely won praise for their preparations for the Games. With the construction work on track, IOC President Thomas Bach has said Tokyo is the best-prepared host ever with less than a year to go until the opening ceremony.

But the sweltering Tokyo heat has already proved a headache and there are fears for athletes, volunteers and spectators if conditions in recent summers are repeated at Games time.

Test events in August did little to allay those fears, with a French triathlete taken to hospital with suspected heatstroke, complaints about the water temperature for marathon swimming, and people taken ill at a rowing trial.

One member of the French parathletics team attending Friday's event pointed to another potential problem of the fake snow hose.

"When the wind is blowing in the wrong direction pushing the snow out of the stands, I'm not sure it is going to be that efficient," he said.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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Is this a mickey take? In summer heat the 'snow' would melt a nanosecond after leaving the machine - you might as well just hose down the spectators.

Ridiculous.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

You've got to be kidding me. The only that can come from this is the rest of the world knowing what a fantasy land the Monsterously old Japanese Olympic board are living in

8 ( +11 / -3 )

What an utterly, unbelievable, mind-blowing stupid idea. That's unbelievable that they even tried it.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

If an athlete dies during the Olympics, who will be responsible?

This being Japan, everyone and no one. Deeply regrettable...did everything we could to ensure the comfort and safety of competitors....etc. But no one will face manslaughter charges.

But at least they realise that they have a problem and are doing something about it now, but the only credible solution for endurance events is to postpone the Olympics or relocate them to a cooler part of Japan. In the great run of things, would it really matter if the marathon took place in Hokkaido?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Awesome! What a great way to increase the humidity at ground level.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The 1964 Olympics were held in October. It is too bad that Japan caved to the demands of US television networks to keep the Olympics in August so it would not interfere with their Autumn sports broadcasts (from which they make lots of money). I guess that in their minds, the Olympics are not really that important.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"2020"

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Like how they chose the coolest day since July 27th. Why not wait until Sunday, when it's going to be a scorcher again?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Why do it today though on a relatively cool day? Last week would have been better when we had some brutally hot days.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

But instead of light fluffy snowflakes, the crowd, consisting mainly of Tokyo 2020 staff, was pelted with fairly coarse shards of shaved ice at the canoeing test event.

LOL

Perhaps they could make this an event?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Tokyo 2020 organizers have largely won praise for their preparations for the Games. With the construction work on track, IOC President Thomas Bach has said Tokyo is the best-prepared host ever with less than a year to go until the opening ceremony.

I wonder how much he was paid to say this publicly!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Yubaru: Likely less than what he got for Tokyo to win the bid, but still a hefty amount for a mere comment, no doubt. This being not far above the thread where the IOC is desperate to stay relevant doesn't surprise me.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

This is a stupid idea. Don’t do it!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Company I work at had an early planning meeting today and requests for scheduling for the next fiscal year were passed around. We have until December to fill it out, but one thing that stuck in my mind,

The day of the opening ceremony for the Olympics is a national holiday July 24th, they moved "Sports Day" typically the 2nd Monday in October to July 24th and cut the October holiday, AND they made July 23rd "Umi no Hi, or "Ocean Day" a holiday as well, which is typically on the 3rd Monday of July.

The Olympics are screwing things up for EVERYONE and not just Tokyo!

https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=2020&country=26

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Well people stop finding fault in their efforts, this team is doing really incredible job and trying to make this unforgettable. I m sure it will be the best show ever.

Idea is not bad but I think it will make audience wet . why don't just large water coolers installation? Not few but hundred of coolers .

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

LOL ... how the hell is the snow supposed to stay snow ?

It will just rain down on all the people and everyone will be angry because they did not order any Rain XD

if they are really going to do that they will have to hand out lots of rain coats to all the visitors

2 ( +6 / -4 )

One month ago, venue inspection and test games:

“The international rowing federation is also saying a roof is absolutely necessary, even if it is of the SIMPLEST design,”

...instead we get stupid snow.

@Oriya : "Well people stop finding fault in their efforts, this team is doing really incredible job"

- yeah right - tell that to the people who know what they are talking about ( see above).
3 ( +4 / -1 )

idiots...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Just hand each spectator a frozen water bottle on entry ( at what 10 cents cost each ) so they can cool their neck & head with it and then drink it in when the ice water melts in a couple of hours and be done with it... now can I have a million or two for my consulting services pls :) ?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

doesn't surprise me considering it's a common (stupid) pratice in japanese theme parks in summer (esp. USJ).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's like a sad joke.

Japan likes to think it is a world leader in creative technology... but this is just ridiculous. And zero effect.

Meanwhile, in Doha Qatar, they have built an air-conditioned stadium for the 2019 World Athletics Championships. Have a look at the Khalifa International Stadium... it's amazing.

Japan is well below the world standard.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is too bad that Japan caved to the demands of US television networks to keep the Olympics in August so it would not interfere with their Autumn sports broadcasts

It isn't Japan that caved into the demands of the broadcasters, it's the IOC. All bids for the 2020 Olympics had to schedule the Olympics between July 15-Aug 31 otherwise they wouldn't be considered. NBC paid $8 billion for the rights until 2032, they wouldn't pay that much if people were watching the NFL on the other channel. Neither would Coca Cola, Visa etc.

Also, Japanese broadcasters don't want the Olympics to clash with the baseball 'Climax' games. I imagine European broadcasters don't want it to compete with the Champions League either. The Olympics is held in high summer because other sports aren't stupid enough to schedule events at that time, so it's the perfect time to capture almost the entire sporting market.

But basically you are right in that the dates for the Olympics are largely set by American consumers, and therefore the broadcasters & advertisers that sell junk to them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Stupid...………..Beyond...……….BELIEF!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But at least they realise that they have a problem and are doing something about it now, but the only credible solution for endurance events is to postpone the Olympics or relocate them to a cooler part of Japan. In the great run of things, would it really matter if the marathon took place in Hokkaido?

Or maybe they could host it in October when it’s cooler like in the ‘64 Olympics? Which is what I was going to say, if it wasn’t for the commenters pointing out the obvious fact that in the US, football and “climax baseball” games are during the fall as well. So, so much for that strategy.

Yeah, it’s really big shame that all this intense heat is causing the Olympic Committee to try out all these stupid things. But hey, at least there’s still trying to solve the problem, right? I mean it’s a lot better than them being neglectful, and have even more people die of heat stroke or something, right?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Who comes up with idiotic ideas like this?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Could have used that at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics where they barely had snow.

This is clearly a joke for Tokyo, I can barely get out the door of a combini before my ice cream has melted all over my hand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But at least they realise that they have a problem and are doing something about it now, 

Cripes, how naive can people be! People in this country have been aware that it gets hot in Tokyo during July for maybe the past 1,000 years or so. Some areas used to be a damn swamp for cripes sake!

The way you make it sound is like everyone conveniently "forgot" about the weather during the preparation for the bidding and throughout the construction vetting process and just all of a sudden became aware that "Hey it really gets hot here" "We gotta do something for these athletes who can't gaman-suru like the rest of us Japanese!

The organizers didnt consider the weather, didnt give a crap, and now because pressure is being applied, they are coming up with half-arsed solutions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Or maybe they could host it in October when it’s cooler like in the ‘64 Olympics? Which is what I was going to say, if it wasn’t for the commenters pointing out the obvious fact that in the US, football and “climax baseball” games are during the fall as well. So, so much for that strategy.

Even taking out the other sports angle, it would NEVER be changed now. Far too much money has been spent on preparations for the dates to be moved.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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