Question Sheet: Surviving Olympic Heat


Before reading:

  1. In which sports can athletes compete at the summer Olympic Games? See 2004). 
  2. How might science be important to an athlete’s preparation for the summer Olympics?

During reading:

  1. What weather conditions in Athens might make it difficult for athletes to compete during the Olympic games in August, 2004? 
  2. Why do people get hot when they exercise? 
  3. How does your body regulate its temperature? 
  4. Which parts of the human body release a great deal of heat? 
  5. What can athletes do to prepare for high temperatures in Athens? 
  6. How does “ClimaCool” fabric work? 
  7. In what way is the RTX technology like a personal air-conditioning system?

After reading:

  1. Pick a sport that will be played in the summer Olympics. What special requirements does athletic clothing for this event have? 
  2. What does a calorie measure? How is this concept related to the foods you eat and to exercising? See Public Television). 
  3. Why might some people sweat more than others? Do you think that these people are the same ones who also become cold quickly? 
  4. Given how athletes prepare for the summer Olympics, what might be important considerations for athletes getting ready for the winter Olympic games? 
  5. What do sport drinks include that makes them helpful to athletes? 
  6. What sorts of science would you imagine go into clothing design?


  1. Suppose that the summer Olympics is to be held in Lima, Peru (see

    : National Geographic). Write a description of what the weather would be like in August in that location. What other factors, such as altitude, humidity, or amount of rainfall, might affect an athlete’s performance there? What if the games were held in Accra, Ghana (see : GhanaHomePage)? Tokyo, Japan (see Highbury Columbus Travel Publishing)? 

  2. To simulate the temperature conditions of Athens, where might an athlete train in the United States?


  1. Go to a Web site about the ancient Olympics in Greece at University). Pick a sport, such as boxing, running, or chariot racing, and take a look at drawings of that event on ancient pots. Invent a story to go along with one of the drawings. 
  2. Write a letter to a sports clothing designer. Come up with at least four questions to ask the designer about the science involved in designing clothing for athletes.


Suppose you’re playing basketball. Playing on a full court, you burn about .097 calories per pound per minute. If you weigh 150 pounds and play for 1 hour, how many calories would you burn?