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Olympic Track & Field Workers Using Gloves to Move Hot Starting Blocks as Temperatures Hit High 90s

·2-min read
Tokyo Olympics Staff
Tokyo Olympics Staff

Zhang Chuanqi/Xinhua via Getty Images Staff members at the Tokyo Olympics

As temperatures in Japan reach the hottest since the start of the Olympic Games, workers at the Tokyo-area venues are having to adapt just as much as the athletes.

During Thursday morning's track and field events, an announcer at the Olympic Stadium said that staffers charged with moving the hurdles and starting blocks between or during races had started wearing gloves to handle the items.

By 9:30 a.m. local time on Thursday it was already 90 degrees in Tokyo, with a high of at least 93 degrees expected by noon. According to Weather.com, it felt like 101 degrees outside.

Athletes have spoken about the grueling conditions, which have many of them using ice vests to cool down after their events.

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Canadian decathlete Damian Warner told reporters that of the three Games he's participated in, Tokyo has been the "hottest," CNN reported.

"It was kind of advertised that these were going to be the hottest Games ever. I am at my third Olympics, and I can verify that these are the hottest ones in which I have competed," he elaborated. "We are trying to do whatever we can, staying hydrated and using all the cooling apparatus that we have. So far I am good."

Speaking to PEOPLE while chatting with reporters after the U.S. women's 4x100m relay team came in second in qualifying, English Gardner said that though the temperatures and humidity made it harder to breathe as she's still recovering from a COVID-19 bout earlier this year, the racers are pushing through.

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"I guess when you're a champion you can't really think about the outside sources," Gardner said. "Everything is race day and that's all we really have to concentrate on. We wanted to go out there and execute our hand-offs so we kinda blocked out the heat, blocked out the wonderful crowd that we heard out there and we just really got out and did our job."

And on the golf course, American Nelly Corda told reporters she felt "lightheaded" on Wednesday with the heat index hitting 111 degrees.

"I think the mental aspect is probably the hardest just because you have to keep yourself hydrated and you kind of lose it a little out there," she said, according to USA Today.

"When I was teeing up some balls, I definitely felt a little lightheaded," Korda continued. "But kept myself in it and made sure I drank a lot of electrolytes, too."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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