Faster, Stronger ... and More Polite?

US athletes hit 'manners training' to avoid Bode fiascos
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2008 3:48 AM CDT
Faster, Stronger ... and More Polite?
Swimmer Michael Phelps was one of the US Olympians who attended a two-day etiquitte course meant to prevent bad behavior in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

(Newser) – US Olympians are getting a new type of training: lessons in how to behave in Beijing, reports the Wall Street Journal. In a required course the USOC calls the "ambassador program," US athletes are receiving instruction on topics ranging from appropriate chopstick use to the correct way to hold the American flag during a victory lap.

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Between lessons in basic Chinese vocabulary and silly group games designed to give athletes experience dealing with "things that make them uncomfortable," the take-home lesson is: don't be a jerk in Beijing. After Bode Miller embarrassed US team leaders by heavy partying Torino, and numerous other gaffes by other Olympians, the committee hopes to prevent further mortification.
(Read more 2008 Beijing Olympics stories.)

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