Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Huge Fans Tapped to Beat Olympic Heat

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Huge Fans Tapped to Beat Olympic Heat

Article excerpt

PUT Atlanta in the same sentence with the word summer, and descriptions such as sultry, steamy, sweltering, and sizzling may come to mind. Now add the Olympics. The combination is one that is making organizers sweat, and it's still months before the opening ceremonies. It's not that anyone here entertained delusions that this Southeastern city - nicknamed Hotlanta - might suddenly adopt the weather of North Dakota between July 19 and Aug. 4, 1996, the dates the Olympic Games come to town. But Atlanta's maximum daily temperatures are higher than those in the most recent past summer sites in Barcelona, Spain and Seoul, South Korea. And an unusually hot summer this year, combined with predictions by climatologists that next summer could be the warmest on record, is prompting a serious look at how athletes and spectators will beat the heat. "Atlanta in the summertime, especially in July and August, is hot," says Bob Brennan, a spokesman for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. "The way you deal with heat is you stay indoors when you can." Many sporting events will be held in cool, dry environs where massive air-conditioning systems temper heat and humidity. But other competitions - from soccer to track and field - will take place on fields and in stadiums where the heat and humidity could be intense. And the concrete sidewalks and streets of Atlanta will likely magnify the temperatures, turning the city into a Brobdingnagian sauna for the more than 2 million estimated visitors who must walk from from venue to venue. Seeking ways to help temper the canicular conditions for participants and fans, Olympic organizers have formed a special task force on keeping cool. Solutions now being explored range from giant fans to installing more drinking-water fountains around the city. At a recent soccer competition, for example, about 40 fans were set up along the field to blow air on athletes. Results were mixed because the temperature had dipped to a relatively cool 84 degrees. …
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