Other countermeasures include ice cream for volunteers.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics less than a year away, the burning question on everyone’s mind is: will anyone die from the excruciating heat, or just be hospitalized?
▼ While we can all agree that umbrella hats are totally stylish, are they enough?
Now, however, thanks to constructive complaints during test events, a clearer picture of what’s truly needed has emerged, and what’s needed is a crapload of ice. 1,300 tons to be exact!
That would equate to about 38 large-sized tank trucks filled with the frosty frozen fluid. This will be divvied up and used in ice baths that will be installed at 100 event and practice venues for athletes to cool down in should the weather reach its expected level of heat and humidity.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. In addition to ugly hats, volunteers will be given multiple bottles of water to stay hydrated with and will also be given salt tablets, sweat pads, instant coolants, and best of all, ice cream of a yet to be determined flavor! Spectators, meanwhile, will reap the benefits of 20,000 square meters of tent coverage and one drinking fountain per 500 to 3,000 people expected to attend.
In addition, the games will also be working with Chinese IT giant and Olympic sponsor Alibaba to develop an app that everyone can use to monitor heat indexes at venues and give real-time warnings for heat stroke.
This is certainly a step up from fishing hats, but all this ice cream is indeed every bit as expensive as it sounds. The previous budget for heat prevention stood at four billion yen (US$36M) split evenly between Tokyo and the Olympic organizers. Now, thanks to these additional measures, the budget has swollen to a whopping 10 billion ($91M), again evenly split.
Taking the money into consideration, many online were less than impressed with the low-tech solutions such as of a bunch of ice.
“Ice?! Did we travel back to WWII?”
“I can’t help but think about how stupid this is.”
“They should just cover everything in gold. It’d cost the same and be just as effective.”
“They seem to be treating this like a gambling addict would.”
“Ice cream?! Hah! That’ll last about two seconds out there.”
“Is Japan technically a developing country yet?”
“I bet on TV they’ll promote the ice as ‘Made In Japan.’”
“10 billion yen on things that will just melt away.”
This budget also isn’t taking into account the plans to relocate the marathon event to Sapporo nor does it include potential costs of allowing spectators to carry their own bottles, a plan whose details are still being ironed out. It is, however, crafted in the true Olympic spirit of throwing money at problems until they go away, even if they never do.
Still, looking back at when these heat countermeasures where first announced in 2014, and then-environment-minister Nobuteru Ishihara declared, “I want the world to experience all the technological and engineering marvels that Japan has to offer,” I think when those hundreds of tons of frozen water finally roll into Tokyo by people wearing umbrellas on their heads, it’ll be hard not to get a little teary-eyed and whisper, “We did it, Mr. Ishihara….”