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Tokyo conditions could lead to better sprint times

A heat expert from Loughborough University believes that the gruelling conditions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games could prove favourable for some sprint and/or power athletes.

Speaking as part of Loughborough University’s #Lboro2Tokyo campaign, Dr Lee Taylor, Reader in Exercise and Environmental Physiology, said:

“Most spectators and fans want to see the 100m record broken at the Olympics. It’s a big marquee gold flag type event and there is a strong relationship between the ability for a muscle to produce a lot of force quickly and the temperature that it is at.

“So, if it’s a hot environment in the sprint type events or the real explosive events, you might see some very good performances – it’s certainly better than seven degrees in Manchester or somewhere like that.”

Dr Taylor added: “But of course, there’s several disclaimers related to that. Once people start getting on the Olympic track, they’re probably going to tell you if it’s a ‘fast track’ or not and that’s a good indication of whether some records will be broken at the shorter events.

“We also have to consider how covid may have negatively implicated some athletes’ preparation, and they might not be quite in the shape they want to be for the Olympics.

“It’ll be really interesting to see which events will be potentially augmented in terms of performance…we know that in the longer duration events we’re not going to see world records or personal bests.”

Dr Lee Taylor also talks in-depth about heat and performance sport in a special edition of Loughborough University’s Experts in Sport podcast. The episode, Tokyo Talk: How athletes prepare to compete in extreme heat, can be viewed by visiting HERE.