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US Cyclists Wearing Masks?

When four US cyclists arrived in Beijing, they were wearing black masks over their mouths and noses. The United States Olympic Committee's (USOC) lead exercise physiologist advised athletes to wear masks on the plane and as soon as they set foot in the airport in Beijing. It all has to do with pollution and how the air quality is much poorer there as compared to the US. The athletes thought it wasn't that big a deal, until they heard that photographs of them in their masks were all over TV and the Internet.

Cyclist Mike Friedman said,

"Why we wore the masks is simple: pollution. When you train your whole life for something, dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s, why wouldn’t you be better safe than sorry? They have pollution in Los Angeles, and if the Olympics were in Los Angeles, we would probably wear these masks, too.”

Unfortunately, some USOC officials didn't agree with the mask idea and were not pleased with the cyclists' decision because they felt it may embarrass or offend China. Beijing is one the most polluted cities in the world, and it has taken measures to prepare for the 2008 Summer Olympics by shutting down or moving factories. Even cars were advised to be on the road on alternate days. For my take on the situation, and to watch a video about Beijing's air pollution,


Unfortunately, you can't fix the problem of pollution in a short amount of time, and since the sky still seemed thick with gray smog, the athletes made the decision to wear the masks. When athletes came to Beijing earlier for Olympic test events last year, some athletes developed sore throats, chest infections, and allergic reactions. They just didn't want to take that chance again.

What do you think about athletes wearing masks to protect themselves from pollution? Is it a slap in Beijing's face, or do you agree that they should be able to wear these masks freely? Do you even think the masks help? For more info, check out this video, and then share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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saurabh-saini saurabh-saini 8 years
I think it was quite good idea about wearing mask in the Beijing because there is more pollution in Beijing compare to US.If athletes were wearing masks then it is helpful for athletes because lungs are mostly affected from air pollution and masks protected athletes from that one.According to me it was good idea and it was not insult of Beijing.Chinese players were also wearing masks. pollution
saurabh-saini saurabh-saini 8 years
It was quite good idea about wearing mask in the Beijing because there is more pollution in Beijing compare to US.If athletes were wearing masks then it is helpful for athletes because lungs are mostly affected from air pollution and masks protected athletes from that one.According to me it was good idea and it was not insult of Beijing.Chinese players were also wearing masks.
Michaelrcks Michaelrcks 8 years
BeatBoxANNI BeatBoxANNI 8 years
You can cut the tension and air with a knife over there.
Baby-Girl Baby-Girl 8 years
I agree. What's the problem with the masks? I wouldn't want to breath the air in. After seeing the how the sky changes color and some of the athletes were having a difficult time breathing, they should be giving them out to everyone.
anna_muffin anna_muffin 8 years
ehm..I meant WORD, not work, of course...
anna_muffin anna_muffin 8 years
work, em113
joannn joannn 8 years
I think they were rude. There was absolutely no reason to be wearing masks in the indoors, they were inside the airport! They were obviously trying to make a statement more than anything, and they've succeeded.
kia kia 8 years
It is not offensive. When I would ride my bike in L. A. to commute on Sunset towards downtown I wore a mask because of the buses I was always behind. No biggie. If I did it and was not even an Olympic athlete then these people are totally justified. And sure, the Chinese should be embarrassed by the pollution. Whatever. Deal with it.
HappyKate HappyKate 8 years
let them wear masks
mod16 mod16 8 years
i would wear one
jessie jessie 8 years
after all their hard work and all they want to do is try to protect their lungs a bit. they should wear mask, don't blame them one bit. china should of thought of this beforehand if they are "offended"
crazylovevbug crazylovevbug 8 years
they are being really smart. the air is completed polluted there, and someone must take a stand sooner than later.
nikolem2 nikolem2 8 years
I agree with em113. I'm shocked that the Olympics are there for many reasons. In fact, I plan to boycott them, the network showing them, and their advertisers in objection. I think it's a reality that they need to wear these masks, and they're being smart. Maybe it's a much-needed smack in the face.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
I have seen Asian tourists wearing masks in Europe and even here in South Africa - so why on earth would they be offended if foreigners (rightly so) wore them in their country? I agree with Em, the Olympics shouldn't have been hosted by China in the first place.
bosworthfan bosworthfan 8 years
I would wear the masks too! Like he said, if I did all that work and then went to a place with a bunch of pollution then I would want to protect my lungs as well. There has been so much drama around these olympics being in Beijing anyhow, they are just look for more reasons to show that other countries "have problems" with the location.
mudnessa mudnessa 8 years
i think they need to wear the masks. they arent use to being in such polluted air and what they are doing they will take in a lot of air they arent use to and it will hinder their performance. i dont think i would go without a mask. i honestly think a lot of athletes would prefer not to be there for reasons mention by em but its what they do and its not like they can just go to another event instead. they kinda have to go, its what they live for it just sucks its in such a controversial place.
menthadict menthadict 8 years
I totally understand how they feel. I've bbeen in beijing and the air is disgusting.
missyd missyd 8 years
I kid, I kid
missyd missyd 8 years
He's just pissed cause he swallowed one too many flies. LMAO :ROTFL:
nicole121482 nicole121482 8 years
I agree with everyone else who has commented here....why the heck wouldn't you wear a mask? I would wear one there even if I wasn't competing!
amerynn amerynn 8 years
I agree 100% with em113
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 8 years
We were just talking about this on another thread. In the days before the biggest competition of your life, in one of the most polluted cities in the world, why WOULDN'T you wear a mask?
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 8 years
I agree. They should be able to wear a mask so that they won't have serious health issues later on. I'm sorry but I believe that the Olympics should have NEVER been at China in the first place. It irritates me.
esweet esweet 8 years
I would also wear a mask. If you are a top-performing athlete, your lungs are pretty valuable! Plus, who would want to jeapordize their health and shot at a gold medal?
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