Tokyo Olympics: Kiwi athletes sweating on Japan heatwave during Games

As well as COVID-19, another major health risk faces Kiwi athletes travelling to the Tokyo Olympics - the heat. 

Conditions are already being described as the most thermally stressful Games ever.

Canoe slalom paddler Callum Gilbert is used to facing the heat. The 25-year-old is from the sunny Bay of Plenty and must also compete in much hotter places.

"It's not uncommon for us to race in 40 degree-plus heat and I think [it's about] just dealing with it, basically, like we would in Australia."

These are shaping up as the hottest Olympic Games in decades, but Gilbert has told Newshub he's worked to ensure his body is up for the temperature test. 

"I have been at home and I love having a spa, so just cranking up the heat a little more, wearing more clothes than I normally wear, especially at training, so there's that feeling of just being a little too warm."

Gilbert is one of dozens of Kiwi athletes hoping good preparation may mean medals. So far, the NZ team has been seen cycling in high-performance heat chambers, heating up during extra rowing sessions and posting social media videos of more time in the spa.

New Zealand team officials say those heading to Tokyo will be ready to handle the heat and they’re bringing extra luggage.

"We've made sure we’ve got things like ice vests, slushy machines, and just good communication and awareness around keeping hydrated," says chef de mission Rob Waddell.

Slushy machines won't help much when it comes to other challenges from Mother Nature.

Japan's infamous typhoon season is expected to hit hard too, much like it did during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

With 11 days to go, organisers hope for an event without a COVID or weather disaster, and in Japan, it certainly does feel like the calm before an Olympic storm.