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December 12, 1966

Attitude—Not Altitude—in Mexico May Endanger Olympic Performances

JAMA. 1966;198(11):48. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110240022013

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Attitude may endanger the performance of more athletes than altitude when the 1968 summer Olympics are held in Mexico City.

This was the warning of two investigators at the Eighth AMA National Conference on the Medical Aspects of Sports.

Along with the gastroenteritis familiar to every tourist ( "Montezuma's Revenge"), false apprehensions about the impact of altitude could hamper many Olympic participants, said Merritt H. Stiles, MD.

Evidence is now fairly solid that "competitors will be in no greater danger than they would be in competing with equivalent effort at sea level," noted Dr. Stiles. He chairs the US Olympic Committee's Committee on Medical and Training Services.

The latter committee and its counterparts in other nations must "take all possible steps to reassure potential competitors as to the absence of danger," Dr. Stiles said. Athletes' families and the general public also must be educated during the next year and a half.