The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Beijing Pollution

I've mostly passed over articles and posts about pollution in Beijing and athletes' concerns about it. I figured they were overreacting; I live in a dirty city and grew up a half a mile away from a dead river.

Now I finally read one, and was in for a shock. From the WaPo:
Situated in a basin where smoke from factories and construction and dust from desert storms gather and shroud the city for days, Beijing has struggled to control air pollution for several years. To prepare for the Olympics, the city has spent $16.4 billion, moving the heaviest polluters outside its borders, planting trees, rerouting traffic and inducing rain.
Damn, that's dirty.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese government went to fairly extreme measures to improve the air quality by 8/8/08. Never underestimate the willingness of a totalitarian government to be ruthless in its pursuit of positive PR.

Athletes have been asking exercise physiologists weird questions.
Should I run behind a bus and breathe in the exhaust? Should I train on the highway during rush hour? Is there any way to acclimate myself to pollution?

Mr. Wilber answers those questions with a steadfast, “No.”

“We have to be extremely careful and steer them in the right direction because the mind-set of the elite athlete is to do anything it takes to get that advantage,” he said. “If they thought locking themselves in the garage with the car running would help them win a gold medal, I’m sure they would do it. Our job, obviously, is to prevent that.”

No comments: