Revealed: Team GB’s secret automated pill to help tame the stifling heat and humidity at the Tokyo Olympics, with microchip transmitting live data during athletes’ training
Team GB athletes swallow tiny computer-controlled pills to prepare for the stifling heat that awaits them at the Olympics in Japan this summer.
Tokyo’s brutal climate will pose a serious challenge for British athletes, with temperatures in July and August regularly hitting 30 ° C and humidity north of 70 percent.
Sportsmail Dozens of GB athletes, including middle distance star Laura Muir, have been reported to have been in contact with scientists at the English Institute of Sport to investigate how such oppressive heat could affect performance.
It involved taking a small gastrointestinal tablet from BodyCap, a French company whose research has been used in military and elite sports. Their e-Celsius pill contains a microchip that sends the body’s internal temperature via radio waves to an external portal before, during and after a session.
Laura Muir is one of the stars believed to have collaborated with scientists in coming up with the pills
The pills have been used in warm weather bases or in conjunction with the Institute’s heat chambers, and more recently in specially adapted heat tents used in multiple sports.
Sportsmail understands that the UK hockey team and triathletes are among those who have used the institute’s tents, in which the temperature and humidity can be artificially raised during practice to simulate what they will encounter in the Far East.
The tablets have been used by a significant number of Team GB athletes and are seen as an important tool for understanding how they will tackle climate issues.
The theory is that endurance athletes in particular will know how hard they can push in very specific temperature and humidity ranges before breaking down, and so they can tailor their race day approach accordingly.
Muir is said to have used the technology at the beginning of last year during training in warm weather in South Africa.
The tablets have been used by a significant number of Team GB athletes and are seen as an important tool for understanding how the climate will be managed
The tablets, which can be swallowed the night before a session, naturally pass through the body’s digestive system at the same rate as most foods, typically 12-48 hours. The temperature data can be stored on the device and uploaded after a session, or beamed to a handheld computer every 15 seconds in real time.
A source at the Institute of Sport indicated that about 20 of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic programs have used their heating facilities at Bisham Abbey, Loughborough and Manchester.
Meanwhile, one of GB’s greatest hopes for Tokyo, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, is making good progress in her recovery from an Achilles tendon, friend and teammate Adam Gemili said.
Sportsmail revealed in January that the heptathlon world champion had suffered a massive setback after sustaining the injury during practice. Since then, there’s been a notable lack of updates, and more alarmingly, she didn’t return to her training base in France until mid-April, after initially aiming for a March resumption.
However, Gemili brought up a more optimistic bulletin about her health, saying, ‘As far as I know, she’s doing fine. She is ready to defend her world title in the Olympics and hopefully win Olympic gold. I think she’s more than capable of that. She is so talented.
“As far as I know, and I talk to Kat now and then, she’s in a good place.”