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Smog bad? Just postpone the race

Olympicssmog Smog is turning into an Achilles heel for Olympics organizers.

As air pollution socked in Beijing for yet another day today, International Olympics Committee chief Jacques Rogge finally admitted that smog might, just might, be a problem for some endurance athletes.

But Rogge offered a solution to CNN a few moments ago: If the smog is bad during the 2008 Summer Games, some outdoor events may be postponed for a day or two.

For the record, Rogge said he trusts air quality will get better: “We believe that with one year to go and all the measures taken by the Chinese, the situation will be vastly improved next year.”

But he cited “contingency plans” in case air quality is poor, saying postponing some event “is an option.”

“It would not be necessary for all sports, sports with short durations would not be a problem,” Rogge told CNN. “But definitely the endurance sports like the cycling (road) race, where you have to compete for six hours, these are examples of competitions that might be postponed or delayed to another day.”

But will a day or two do it? Air quality has been pretty wretched for the nine days since I got back in the country from vacation. Unless more drastic measures are taken, I have my doubts.


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"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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