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Cooling at Tokyo 2020: the why and how for endurance and team sport athletes
  1. Lee Taylor1,2,
  2. Sarah Carter3,
  3. Trent Stellingwerff4,5
  1. 1 School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  2. 2 Human Performance Research Centre, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory, Sydney School of Health Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4 Canadian Sport Institute, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  5. 5 Department of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lee Taylor, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK; l.taylor2{at}

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The Tokyo 2020(1) Olympics are expected to be the hottest in modern history,1 resulting in much conjecture within the literature.2–5 Long-term (~10 to 14 days) heat acclimation/acclimatisation (HA) is the gold-standard strategy to protect against heat-mediated performance decrements and exertional heat illnesses (EHI).6 Short-term heat reacclimation (~5 days), proximal to competition, can also be incorporated within athlete training and taper programmes, complimenting the earlier long-term HA. This approach allows the balance of training/load and HA agendas within the often time poor and logistically challenging elite sport environment.5 7 8

With the assumption that athletes arrive robustly heat acclimated/acclimatised to Tokyo 2020(1), practitioners have a variety of precooling, during(mid) and postcooling event interventions to consider on competition day – that are complimentarily to – rather than instead of HA.8 In brief, these can include various combinations of: (i) internal (ice slurry ingestion, cold water ingestion, etc) and external (any cold fluid, medium or air source the body is immersed or exposed to) body cooling interventions to reduce body tissue temperatures [eg, core (Tc), muscle (Tmu) and skin (Tsk) temperature (see figure 1 for summary)]8–10; (ii) interventions to evoke local cooling sensations (eg, menthol mouth rinse) which could be favourably interpreted (ie, their perception) by higher brain centres without altering Tc11 and (iii) titration of competition warm-up procedures and/or alterations in pacing, tactics and/or strategy. At the recent 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships (Doha, Qatar), LT …

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  • Twitter @DrLeeTaylor, @_SKCarter, @TStellingwerff

  • Contributors LT conceptualised the editorial. LT and TS wrote the editorial with SC providing critical input. SC designed and created the figure with LT and TS providing content. All authors contributed in drafting or revising the editorial and approved the final version to be published.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.