Keeping cool in Tokyo – heat and humidity measures under the microscope

TOKYO, July 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Olympic Equestrian Dressage competitions are already well underway and, by tomorrow morning, all equine athletes will have settled into their temporary home at the historic Equestrian Park venue in Baji Koen, with the arrival of the final batch of Show Jumping horses. To allow our equine and human athletes to optimise their performance in the Tokyo climate, comprehensive heat and humidity protocols have been put in place by the FEI and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games (TOCOG).

Example of monitoring horses in work using thermal imaging cameras at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. © FEI. (PRNewsfoto/FEI)

The FEI has been working on minimising the impact of heat and humidity on performance since before the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, and the work on Tokyo 2020 is a continuation of that. 

Heat countermeasures in place onsite at both Equestrian venues for equine athletes:

  • Air-conditioned stables at both Baji Koen and Sea Forest Park (Cross Country venue)
  • Training and competitions scheduled for early morning and evening (under floodlights)
  • Constant monitoring of current and forecast climatic conditions, working with the official Tokyo 2020 weather provider, Japan Meteorological Agency
  • Constant monitoring of onsite climatic conditions using the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index, which measures heat stress in direct sunlight, taking into account temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover (solar radiation) – every 15 minutes during the Cross Country
  • Constant and close monitoring of horses by a world-class veterinary team, multiple cooling facilities (shade tents, cold misting fans, unlimited ice and water, mobile cooling units etc)
  • Specific climate mitigation protocols for training and warm-up and also in-competition
  • Monitoring horses in work using thermal imaging cameras, enabling body temperature to be estimated accurately from a distance of 5-10 metres.

    – Allows for monitoring without interfering with athletes

    – Helps with early identification of horses at potential risk of overheating

    – Allows for timely interventions such as rapid cooling during training and warm-up and prior to competing

    – Possibility to stop a horse on the Cross Country course and bring mobile cooling units out to provide rapid cooling. (These mobile cooling units are also available for the arena-based competitions and in the warm-up arenas.)

Heat countermeasures in place onsite at both Equestrian venues for humans:

  • Provision of shade, special cooling tents/areas (including cold misting fans) for athletes and entourage
  • Facilities and measures for officials/volunteers including rest periods, shade and rest areas, water etc



Images available on FEI Flickr for editorial use only.

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About FEI

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons

FEI Media Relations & Media Operations Manager

[email protected]

+41 78 750 61 46

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