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.