Members of the U.S. Cycling Team arrived in Beijing today wearing masks to protect themselves from the polluted air. See photos and video below.
The cyclists are the first athletes to arrive in Beijing sporting masks, and photos and video of them have been splashed all over the internet, and now they are being criticized by United States Olympic officials. The officials were not thrilled with the fact that the athletes were snapped already wearing the masks in the airport as they felt it would be an embarrassment to the host country, and they may construe it as a slap in their face.
Cyclist Michael Friedman said:
“Why we wore the masks is simple: pollution. When you train your whole life for something, dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s, why wouldn’t you be better safe than sorry?
“They told us that the Chinese were mad and that this is a politically charged issue, but we didn’t mean to offend anybody,�? Friedman said. “When they handed us these masks, they never said, ‘Here they are, but don’t wear them.’ �?
Arne Ljungqvist, medical commission chief for the International Olympic Committee, felt it was unnecessary for the cyclists to wear the masks because the air quality was not problematic for the athletes unless they had a “specific condition such as asthma“.
I don’t blame these cyclists one bit for wearing the masks. Just like Friedman said, they spend years training for this event, and why not protect themselves?
Click below for more photos and video of the American cyclists arriving in Beijing wearing masks.