Between coverage on Simone Manuel, the 10,000 meter world record and the green pool water, have you stopped to consider what type of energy it takes to run and compete in the Olympics. We will dive into some fun comparisons, but first, let’s review some basic physics. Power is the rate at which Energy is generated or consumed. Simone Biles’ vault routine has more power than Amy Cragg’s marathon, but Cragg uses more energy during her race. Remember, energy takes many forms, chemical, nuclear, gravitational and kinetic to name a few, so we are comparing the energy (calories) consumed by an athlete to the energy generated by various types of power plants (kilowatt-hours.)
1 solar panel operating for 1 hour generates the same amount of energy as the potential energy contained in ALL of the 10 M Olympic dives.
After 1 day of operation, 2 solar panels would generate enough energy for an Olympic marathon.
Players on the soccer field would consume the energy generated by an average residential solar installation on a long, sunny day.
The Olympic Torch travels around the world used the energy generated by a 200’ tall Wind Turbine over the course of a day.
Let’s not forget all the couch athletes! They use the most energy of all! During the 2012 London Olympics, viewers consumed 425 million hours of footage on their computers which is the equivalent of one average coal plant running 8 hours per day through the Olympics.
Television viewers won the energy competition. Two of our largest nuclear power plants, would need to run full time for the duration of the Olympics to keep those TVs running.
Please note all of these calculations are approximate and based off rough estimations.