Other Sports: Olympics-Climate change will limit choice for Winter Games hosts, says study


(Reuters) – Of the 21 cities to host the Winter Olympics, solely Sapporo, Japan would be capable to present honest and secure circumstances to stage them once more by the tip of the century if greenhouse gases are usually not dramatically lowered, stated a University of Waterloo study launched on Tuesday.

An worldwide workforce of researchers, led by the University of Waterloo, reviewed historic local weather information from the Nineteen Twenties together with future local weather change developments.

They decided that winter playgrounds similar to St. Moritz and Lillehammer might change into Olympic relics by the mid to late century, with unreliable circumstances ruling them out as Games hosts.

Research revealed that the common February daytime temperature of host cities has steadily elevated – from 0.4 Celsius on the Games held within the Nineteen Twenties to the Fifties, to three.1C on the Games through the Nineteen Sixties to Nineties, and 6.3C in Games held within the twenty first century, together with subsequent month’s Beijing Games.

“If we proceed on the trajectory we now have now we find yourself with Sapporo being the one climate-reliable location by the tip of the century and thereafter we now have to look and see even when does Sapporo swap over,” Daniel Scott, a professor of Geography and Environmental Management at Waterloo, instructed Reuters.

“Even by the mid-century the variety of climate-reliable places, no less than the 21 hosts that we have had previously, could be lowered.”

Sapporo hosted the Games in 1972.

Europe has been the cradle of the Winter Olympics having hosted over half the Games, together with the primary in Chamonix in 1924 and the subsequent after Beijing in Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo.

But the Alpine areas of Europe have felt the affect of local weather change and Scott stated the study’s message to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is that they will should be extra versatile sooner or later when choosing a venue, turning to higher-and-higher elevations to run occasions like ski racing.

“Climate change is altering the geography of the Winter Olympic Games and will, sadly, take away some host cities which are well-known for winter sport,” stated Robert Steiger of the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

“Most host places in Europe are projected to be marginal or not dependable as early because the 2050s, even in a low emission future.”


Climate change has been on the IOC radar for a while, with the Olympic physique including sustainability as a 3rd pillar of Olympism in 2014.

The IOC, in keeping with the study, has probably the most formidable emission commitments in sports activities and throughout all sectors.

It introduced forward of the United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow that it goals to change into ‘climate positive’ in 2024 by lowering its direct and oblique emissions by 30%.

Starting in 2030, Olympic host cities will be contractually obligated to be local weather constructive.

Researchers additionally surveyed worldwide athletes and coaches and located that 89% felt altering climate patterns are affecting competitors circumstances, and 94% worry local weather change will affect the longer term growth of their sport.

The report additionally famous that larger crash and harm charges amongst snow sports activities athletes could be partially attributed to larger ambient temperatures and poor snow circumstances.

The final three Winter Olympics have had the best harm incidence charges recorded amongst alpine snowboarding, snowboarding and freestyle athletes (55% larger versus different Winter Games).

“The International Olympic Committee will have more and more tough selections about the place to award the Games,” stated Siyao Ma of the University of Arkansas.

“But the world’s greatest athletes, who’ve devoted their lives to sports activities, should have the Olympics situated in locations that may reliably ship secure and honest competitions.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)

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