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The effects of Mexico City's 2,000-meter altitude on athletes participating in the 1968 Olympic Games were outlined by Bruno Balke, MD, at the sixth National Conference on the Medical Aspects of Sports Nov 29 in Miami Beach, Fla. Balke, professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and former chief of the biodynamics branch of the Civil Aeromedical Research Institute, said the altitude will have little effect on sprinters, but may cause a problem for distance runners and swimmers unless they become thoroughly acclimated to the altitude before competing.
Previous data, he said, have shown that an individual will have a 7% loss in the capacity for maximum energy expenditure at an elevation of 2,000 meters.
Present knowledge of the effects of the lowered barometric pressure of high altitudes on physical performance shows that muscular strength and the speed of coordinated muscular efforts are not affected during periods of activity not
Acclimatization Required for Olympic Athletes in 1968 Mexico City Games. JAMA. 1964;190(11):31-32. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070240071035