REF 2021 Impact Case Study: Athletes in extreme environments: changing policy and practice, improving safety and enhancing performance


Description of impact

Exercise in extreme environments (very cold or hot conditions) impairs performance and can endanger athlete health and safety. Research undertaken by the Extreme Environments Group (EEG) at the University of Portsmouth has:

i) underpinned international water-safety regulations that protect athletes in over 200 countries across two sports;

ii) changed sports event organisation and safety protocols for open water swimming competition;

iii) improved sport science support practices and the preparation of Team GB athletes competing in extreme environments, across ten Olympic and Paralympic sports and over two Olympic cycles.

These impacts have increased the safety of many millions of recreational and elite athletes who compete in extreme environments worldwide, improved British athletes’ performances in extreme environments, and contributed to Team GB’s Olympic, Paralympic and World Championship successes.
Impact statusClosed
Impact date1 Aug 201331 Dec 2020


  • REF2021