LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
August 17, 2016

With temperatures rising rapidly and a blistering summer that scorched all previous records, the future of the Summer Olympic Games could be in jeopardy.

A new study, published in The Lancet medical journal, suggests that in 70 years only eight of the 543 currently viable major cities will be able to host the Summer Olympic Games.

The research team analyzed weather factors, including heat radiation, temperature, wind data, and humidity, to determine the cities that would still be safe for athletes by 2085.

Researchers focused on cities with populations of at least 600,000 (necessary to be considered as a host) and omitted cities with elevations over a mile above sea level (altitude has implications of its own).

According to the analysis, the only cities that would be low-risk to endurance athletes competing outside were: St. Petersburg, Russia; Riga, Latvia; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Calgary and Vancouver, in Canada; and San Francisco in the United States.

There were also 25 small cities within Western Europe that could be usable, yet many of those would drop out of consideration at the turn of the century.

Of course, it's conceivable that the Olympic Games would continue on with modifications: all events held exclusively indoors, or outdoor sports such as the marathon could be eliminated. But as we know it today, rising temperatures and radiation may dramatically impact the global event.

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