Tokyo conditions could lead to better sprint times – Loughborough University heat expert (VIDEO)

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 7 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.

For further insights from the Dr Taylor, follow him on Twitter (@DrLeeTaylor).

Loughborough’s dedicated 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games website features all the latest news, videos, and medal tables from Japan. 

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 21/145

Notes for editors

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 6th in The UK Complete University Guide 2021.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.