The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Wednesday that it is planning to move the Olympic marathon and race walking events to Sapporo, the host city of the Olympic Winter Games 1972.
According to IOC, temperatures in Sapporo during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games period are as much as five to six degrees centigrade cooler than in Tokyo, which can reach into the high 30s centigrade.
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.
IOC said the implementation of the initiative to move the marathon and the race walks will be discussed with all the stakeholders concerned, in particular the host city Tokyo. The IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 has dedicated a special session in its meeting from October 30 to November 1 in Tokyo to heat countermeasures. Heat has already been taken into consideration when Tokyo presented its candidature in 2013, and since then the IOC and the Organizing Committee have continued to monitor the situation.
"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," said IOC President Thomas Bach.