[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 17, 1996

Olympic Athletes Face Heat, Other Health Hurdles

Author Affiliations

JAMA summer intern

JAMA. 1996;276(3):178-180. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540030012005

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


A MAIN CONCERN among trainers, athletes, and health care professionals set to engage in the centennial of the modern Olympic Games is the notorious heat and high humidity of an Atlanta, Ga, summer.

"Hotlanta's" average daily high summer temperature of 88°F and average relative humidity of 52% combine to create an apparent temperature (heat index) of 100°F, hotter than the average heat indices for the past 6 Summer Olympic Games. And it may be even worse: urban areas are often substantially hotter than other areas because of the "heat island" effect caused by buildings, concrete, and asphalt absorbing the sun's heat and radiating it throughout the day. Track-and-field Olympians may find themselves facing heat indices of up to 125°F. "Training generally suffers under such conditions," says Edward Coyle, PhD, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Texas-Austin.

Lawrence Armstrong, PhD, an exercise physiologist at the University