Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thank God I Am Not An Olympian

I would have loved to make it on an Olympic swimming team but my schooling was more important to me than winning an Olympic medal. My stint swimming on teams ended when I graduated high school.

But take a look at that picture. If you did not know better, you would swear that is either smoke-filled air from California (from wildfires), or that it was some sort of heavy rain shower. But it is not. That is Beijing, and it is not inclement weather. It is smog:

The area where the games will take place failed the government's own smog targets, even as officials opened the Olympic Village with great fanfare.

The air was "unhealthy for sensitive groups," the city's environmental protection bureau said.

The official targets are themselves much looser than those considered "safe" by the World Health Organisation.

"It doesn't really look so good," said Gunilla Lindberg, the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee.

"The day I arrived, Tuesday, was awful. We try to be hopeful. Hopefully we are lucky during the games as we were with Atlanta, Athens and Barcelona."

Partly because of the pollution, several national teams are conducting their final preparations away from Beijing, including the British. But other athletes have begun arriving at the Olympic Village.

From this complex, the main stadia were invisible, thanks to the city's haze.

They are hoping that the winds will come soon, which is a staple of their weather patterns in July, but without it the smog will still be there. And forget being "unhealthy for sensitive groups," that crap in the air is unhealthy for ANY group. Imagine the long distance runners and swimmers having to perform in this pea-soup smog.

Only God knows why the IOC awarded the games to Beijing. They have had nothing but problems since getting them. They were behind in the construction of the Olympic village and stadium. Then there was the clashes with Tibetan monks and the Dalai Lama. The torch relay has been dogged constantly by protesters attempting to extinguish the flame. And now they have smog problems.

We could not believe it when the IOC announced that Beijing had won the games. Obviously the IOC did not care about their abysmal human rights record, nor did they care about the lack of environmental quality. While I may only swim for exercise now, it does not change the fact that if this smog continues as it is, the athletes will not be happy about it.


UPDATE: A tip of the hat to JammieWearingFool for the link to Doug Ross. Mr. Ross has a bevy of photos showing what it is like in China on a semi-regular basis. (Check out the last photo from space showing what China looks like.) And I should also note that Jammie links to a report from the IOC claiming that the air quality there meets with 2005 guidelines. Bravo-Sierra. Those photos show a number of Chinese people wearing masks to filter out the digusting air. If I were an athlete on the US Olympic swimming team, I would remove myself from the roster. Winning a medal is not worth any possible health problems down the road.


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