Olympics-Rowing-Hot heats no sweat as crews adapt to Tokyo conditions
Tokyo's blistering and blustery conditions were no match for ice packs, air conditioning and good old-fashioned experience, rowers said on Friday, as competition kicked off and the Sea Forest Waterway dished out all it had.
TOKYO: Tokyo's blistering and blustery conditions were no match for ice packs, air conditioning and good old-fashioned experience, rowers said on Friday, as competition kicked off and the Sea Forest Waterway dished out all it had.
Wind whipped the roof of the media tent into a steady rhythm but Tokyo's unflappable competitors appeared largely unfazed by the conditions, particularly those who grappled with delays at Rio's gusty Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in 2016.
"In some respects, it's really nice that the wind can be this strong and the water stays very row-able," said Britain's John Collins, 32, who advanced to Sunday's double sculls semi-final after finishing fifth in 2016.
"I remember thinking back to Rio, a butterfly flapped its wings on one side of the lake and it was unrow-able on the course. This is a bit of a relief in that respect."
Tokyo's famous and much-feared high-summer heat, however, is another proposition entirely, with temperatures hovering around 32.2 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) as competitors powered through the sun-soaked course.
"It's been a little bit of a shock to the system, it's always a difficult one with getting the air conditioning right back in the room," said Collins' teammate Graeme Thomas, 32. "How cold do you want it? You can get a little bit light-headed going from the cold to the hot."
Britain's attempt at topping the medal table for a fourth consecutive Olympics got off to a solid start as Rio double sculls silver medallist Victoria Thornley clinched her heat, advancing to the quarter-finals.
"It's obviously hot but I felt cool on the start line, which is good," the two-time Olympian said after the race. "We all knew it was going to be like this."
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)