Rugby I.O.C. Moves Tokyo Games’ Marathon Site Because of Heat Concerns

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Sports|Tokyo’s Olympic Marathon Site Moved Because of Heat Concerns

Rugby Victor Mather

Next year’s Olympic marathons in Japan will be moved from Tokyo to Sapporo because of expected extreme heat, the International Olympic Committee said Wednesday.

The walking races are also expected to be moved to Sapporo, which is 500 miles north of Tokyo. Temperatures there in late July and early August are expected to be about 10 to 12 degrees cooler than in Tokyo.

Heat has been the biggest concern for the Games. At its latitude, Tokyo is one of the hottest cities in the world during the summer months in which the Olympics will be held; over the past 10 Augusts, the average daily temperature was 82 degrees, with higher temperatures and humidity making for difficult conditions for sports competition. Hundreds of people die each summer from the extreme heat.

The 1964 Olympics in Tokyo were held in October because of that heat. But primarily because the I.O.C. wants to maximize its television audience and the money it can collect from media fees, especially in America, which pays the biggest broadcast rights fee, the 2020 Games were scheduled in the traditional summer window. Thomas Bach, the I.O.C. president, has said moving the games would create chaos in the international sport calendar and prevent top athletes from participating.

The last time the Summer Olympics were held outside the July-August window was in 2000, when the Sydney Games were staged in late September. They remain the least watched Summer Games in the Uni

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