Kenyan Olympians "Poor" Performance Blamed on Climate Change
In the 2012 London Olympics, Kenyan runners walked away with 11 medals, including two golds in the men’s 800 meters and the men’s steeplechase.
It was a noble accomplishment, but secretary general of the Kenyan Athletic Federation David Okeyo still felt Kenya's poorer performance from previous years warranted an explanation.
In 2008, after all, the Kenyans won six gold medals.
According to Okeyo, the reason for the decline is global warming.
"[C]limate change associated with hot weather spells is bringing a lot of complications," Okeyo told AlertNet.
In the Rift Valley in Kenya, where most athletes train, the average temperature has increased from 55 degrees to 58 degrees Fahrenheit. The rising temperatures mean that runners can’t work out as fast and sometimes need to cut sessions short.
But aren’t Kenyans used to heat? The idea that African runners train in soaring temperatures is a common misconception.
The most popular training sites in Kenya are places where temperatures rarely rise above 75 degrees at any point in the year. The Kenyans adhere to the tradition of running in full sweats during most training runs and still avoid the hottest parts of the day when the equatorial sun beats down on the landscape.