Thursday, October 05, 2006

Beijing Olympics has put pollution in the spotlight

Beijing is the most polluted capital city on the planet! Unfortunately, pollution is not the only problem related to the upcoming Beijing Olympics. Their massive human rights abuses of dissidents, religious groups and rights defenders make one wonder why they were awarded the Olympics in the first place. According to a report in the Times Colonist:

Downtown Beijing buildings such as the soon-to-be-completed National Olympic Stadium have most experts worried athletes will not be able to perform their best due to the poor air quality in the Chinese capital.

“The biggest concern for athletes in Beijing, Sleivert told the 160 assembled international-level coaches, staff, sports scientists and medical/training personnel, is air quality.

"Pulmonary function will be reduced," said Sleivert, in his closing presentation....

Conference-attendee Derek Covington, director of Games preparation for the Canadian Olympic Committee, travelled recently with the women's national teams in softball and water polo to test events in Beijing and said air pollution will be a factor for athletes if not cleaned up....

"I found it a tiring environment; and I wasn't the one doing the physical exertion," said Covington.

Another concern discussed was the proclivity of athletes to get sick at the Olympics in their once-every-four-years big moment.

Under the recently announced new program to improve performances in summer sports, Canada aims to move up into the top-16 in the medals table at Beijing, from 21st at the 2004 Athens Summer Games.

Alex Gardiner, the COC director of Olympic programs and the former head of the national track and field team, unveiled the unofficial Team Canada slogan for Beijing, which just drips Canadiana: "Frig'n Giv'r." (more)

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