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The 'masked' Olympians

In case you missed it, a New York Times article says U.S. Olympic athletes may be given masks while in Beijing to help them deal with the smog.

The article cites Randy Wilber, a leading exercise physiologist for the U.S. Olympic Committee. Here’s the pertinent excerpt:

To protect the athletes, Mr. Wilber is encouraging them to train elsewhere and arrive in Beijing at the last possible moment. He is also testing possible Olympians to see if they qualify for an International Olympic Committee exemption to use an asthma inhaler. And, in what may be a controversial recommendation, Mr. Wilber is urging all the athletes to wear specially designed masks over their noses and mouths from the minute they step foot in Beijing until they begin competing.

His multipronged strategy could give the United States team an advantage over teams from less-prepared countries. But the plan has a downside: it runs the risk of offending the host country, creating political tension.

Can you imagine the photos of U.S. Olympians bopping around Beijing in masks?

It certainly will have a psychological effect, part of the psyops, I guess. But who does that favor? Countries where athletes say they can endure any conditions? Or will those athletes freak out and think U.S. athletes will be in tiptop form?

Here’s more from the article:

Roughly 750 to 1,000 masks, which cost about $20 to $25 each, will be part of the Olympic gear given to athletes. The masks filter 85 percent to 100 percent of the main pollutants, Mr. Wilber said, compared with paper masks, which filter 25 percent to 45 percent.

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Comments

shirley

In BeiJing, people wear mask when there's sand storm, so does anywhere else in the world. No body can tolerate mask on the daily bases. If there's a really special mask can be designed for such a comfort and avoid any polution, that will be really wonderful. Otherwise, the American Athlet will be the ones most suffered and can't be well performed during competition. Weigh the gain and loose, Enjoy the scene while going for game in BeiJing might be a better choice if I were them. Do you know how much American Tourist visit Beijing, and how much American working in Beijing? I wonder should they wear such a mask as well, including sleep?

MagicChan

Will a month in the pollution really make that much of a difference? As in any new environment, people has to adapt. If players goes to a high altitude country to practice, he has to adapt as there is less air. So same goes for Beijing.

nanheyangrouchuan

And many foreign athletes will be staying in SK, Japan, HK, Taiwan, even the PI just to avoid Beijing's air.

If you really want to mess with Chinese mindsets, tell them that Americans all wear face masks because Micheal Jackson wears them.

Woodman

It's quite common for Chinese, Japanese and other Asian people to wear protective masks in public. The masks protect them from spreading germs. Masks are commonly worn by chinese to keep from breathing in dust which is all pervasive in Beijing.

Pffefer

What about other Americans living in China? Shouldn't all Americans be advised to wear masks in China? It would be an outrage to think that the athletes are more important than us average joes! Americans are Americans!!

Actually if you manage to convince the ill-informed Chinese that Americans wear masks all the time, even in America, they will believe you.

Pffefer

What about other Americans living in China? Shouldn't all Americans be advised to wear masks in China? It would be an outrage to think that the athletes are more important than us average joes! Americans are Americans!!

Actually if you manage to convince the ill-informed Chinese that Americans wear masks all the time, even in America, they will believe you.

Larry

I see a commercial opportunity here. How about designer masks, with Fuwa, and distributed to all foreign athletes, and for sale, at appropriate profit making prices, to the public.

Just remember, you saw this here first. All Rights Reserved.

A B

There is a simple solution to avoid China losing face over the masks.

Just wear ski masks over the mask, and they can't tell who it is that is wearing the air filtering masks.

To really make the point, a few of them could exchange some money at Chinese banks while so dressed, and before you know it, the word will be out from the PSB that it is normal for gwei los to walk around masked and they should not be mistaken for jidhadists or Muslim women.

It will just go down in history as yet another accommodation China makes to hold the Olympics.

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