So the Australian track team is going to skip out on the opening ceremonies in Beijing because they don’t want all that unnecessary smog exposure. Money quote:
“Anything more than five or six days and they inevitably end up with some sort of respiratory problem. So that was why many of the sports who don’t have to be in there early are choosing not to go in. And the outcome is that it’s almost impossible to go for the opening ceremony.”
Although (for reasons I’ll soon explain) I don’t advocate our boycotting the Games, the IOC’s decision to let China host is already an objective disaster. The People’s Republic is of course a terminal violator of human rights, and since the Chinese government is so fond of stagecraft and so fearful of dissent, you’re all but begging them to increase the frequency and potency of their crackdowns. And that’s precisely what’s happened.
More to the point of this post, Beijing, in terms of air quality, is a veritable superfund site. I’m betting other teams learn of Australia’s decision and, not wanting them to gain some advantage (however small), follow suit. If this cascades, then you’re going to see an opening ceremony curiously light on actual athletes. Of course, at this point, what’s one more embarrassment?