Olympians Prepare Strategies for Beijing Smog

China promises clean air for Games, but teams are taking precautions
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2008 1:22 PM CST
Pedestrians pass the new China Central Television headquarters building, shrouded in fog and pollution, in Beijing Friday Oct. 26, 2007. Thick fog blanketed Beijing on Friday, reducing visibility to virtually...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With the Summer Olympics set to begin Aug. 8 in one of the world’s smoggiest cities, competitors are looking for a Beijing edge. US athletes have been asking if they should train near busy highways to simulate Beijing’s noxious air, the New York Times reports, but trainers are advising they arrive at the last minute, and wear a mask when not competing.

The masks might offend the Chinese, but they could also give America a leg up. Few are relying on China’s promise to clean up the air in time. Said one athlete who has competed in Beijing, “When you are coughing up black mucus, you have to stop and say, ‘OK, I get it, this is really, really bad.'”