US Olympic team to bring A/C units to Paris, undercutting environmental plan

The U.S. Olympic team plans to supply air conditioners for their athletes at the Paris Games, contrasting with organizers' carbon emission reduction efforts.

Why is Team USA bringing air conditioners?

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic CEO Sarah Hirshland emphasized the importance of consistency and predictability for Team USA's performance.

"As you can imagine, this is a period of time in which consistency and predictability is critical for Team USA’s performance," Hirshland said. "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."

Who else is bringing air conditioners?

According to The Washington Post, Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada, and Britain are also planning to bring air conditioners to France.

What are Paris organizers doing to keep athletes cool?

Olympic organizers have designed a system of cooling pipes beneath the floors to cool rooms in the Athletes Village, which will house over 15,000 Olympians and sports officials. With the help of fans, the goal is to maintain room temperatures between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius (73 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit).

"I want the Paris Games to be exemplary from an environmental point of view," Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo stated regarding the plans.

The unveiling of the Olympic rings on the esplanade of Trocadero in front of the Eiffel tower after the official announcement of the attribution of the Olympic Games 2024 to the city of Paris on September 13, 2017 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

How common is air conditioning in Europe?

The International Energy Agency reports that fewer than 1 in 10 European households have air conditioning, and the number is even lower in Paris. 

More than half of the 1.6 billion AC units worldwide in 2016 were in China and the United States. The entire European Union has about 100 million units.

Why are some countries prioritizing comfort?

The Olympics represent a pinnacle in the athletic careers of over 10,500 athletes, leading some countries to prioritize comfort over environmental efforts. "It’s a high-performance environment," Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Strath Gordon told The Post.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. It was reported from Los Angeles.