U.S. Olympic team plans to bring air conditioning units to Paris in defiance of organizers’ climate change goals

The U.S. Olympic team will join a handful of other athlete delegations in bringing portable air conditioning units to Paris for the 2024 Olympics in spite of the city’s efforts to provide cool hotel rooms at the cost of lower carbon emissions.

Explaining the group’s decision, U.S Olympics CEO Sarah Hirshland said, “As you can imagine, this is a period of time in which consistency and predictability is critical for Team USA’s performance. In our conversations with athletes, this was a very high priority and something that the athletes felt was a critical component in their performance capability.” Hirshland did, however, praise Parisian efforts at environmental “sustainability.”

Those efforts include plans to by piping cold water through the floors in the Olympic village, as well as providing fans for the athletes.

Europeans are famous for their disdain for air conditioning, as well as their lack of awareness that most of the rest of the world lives significantly closer to the equator, as well as farther away from cooling coastlines, than they do. By way of reference, Rome, Italy is one of the southernmost major cities in Europe, and it is actually north of New York City. It is estimated that fewer than 1 in 10 homes in Paris has air conditioning.

Nonetheless, the United States delegation will not be the only delegation to reject France’s contention that cool floors will be sufficient to maintain peak athletic performance. Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada and Britain also plan to bring portable units to Paris.

According to the Associated Press, the countries who do so are guilty of “uncercut[ting] environmental efforts for the sake of comfort.”

Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Strath Gordon rejected that characterization, noting that the Olympics are a “high-performance environment,” and that this will be the one chance many athletes have to ever compete in the Olympics, which means they want to perform at their very best.

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