from Stephen Fox, Contributing Editor, Santa Fe Sun News
To further protect its athletes' health, Australia will remove its training camps from Beijing, instead putting them in Hong Kong, flying in athletes just for the events, to minimize exposure to the Air Pollution.
Because of concern about air quality, athletes' health and obvious potential damage to their team, most of Australia's track and field athletes will miss the Aug. 8 Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing.With events beginning after Aug. 15, a week after the opening, Athletics Australia will hold its pre-Olympic training camp in Hong Kong, and athletes will then fly to Beijing a few days before their events, the minimum exposure possible.
"As many sports have said, China presents difficulties for athletes going in and being there for a period of time," said Athletics Australia Manager Max Binnington. "Anything more than five or six days and they inevitably end up with some sort of respiratory problem. That was why many of the sports which don't have to be in there early are choosing not to go in, and the outcome is that it's almost impossible to go for the opening ceremony." Australia's triathletes will also miss the opening ceremonies for similar reasons. "Most of our athletes accepted the decision straight away." (Of course! They aren't stupid!)
Sun Weide, a face-saving diplomatic spokesman for the Bejiing organizing committee, stated that nations could be flexible for the opening ceremonies. "Every team can arrange its schedule according to its own plan. As for the environmental problems, we've said many times that we're confident that we can provide clean air during the Olympic Games." The plan for Beijing's clogged traffic includes half of the city's 3.3 million vehicles being banned each day, using an odd-even system from registration plates.
"Generally those competing of the first day or the second day don't march, standing up for eight hours a day or so before competition isn't a medically smart thing to do," AOC spokesman Tancred said. Australian and Hong Kong physicians have backed this up: see "Medical Experts Say Olympians Face Health and Performance Difficulties in Beijing's Air Pollutionfrom Hong Kong and Australian Physicians: Even Spectators Should Worry!" at:
an article by Tan Ee Lyn.
If you know Olympic athletes or athletes who aren't competing, physicians, sports enthusiasts, and internationally minded people, please forward this to them, and to friends and colleagues. If you comprehend that we could prevent a few athletes from inevitable expiration in the Beijing smog and agree, you can also email Mr. Rogge directly:
May I please ask your personal help in getting the word out about this?
Despite IOC President Jacques Rogge's "Beijing Air Pollution Cheer" a few days ago from Lausanne, Switzerland, in which he basically dismisses all of these concerns, I would like you to be aware of my latest articles, which we refer to by URL:
[Title: Jacques Rogge and Olympic Committee: Please move Marathon, Triathlon, and Cycling out of Beijing's Deadly Air Pollution! Carbon Monoxide, Industrial Pollution, Lead, Particulate Matter, Ozone]
Please also see details in my earlier article: http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/manage.php?submit=view&storyid=63336
[Title: Beijing's Infernal Air Pollution Will Kill A Few Olympic Athletes; Most US Athletes Will Wear Masks While Preparing for Their Events]
Stephen Fox, Contributing Editor Santa Fe Sun News