Literally, one gas mask.
I began using this headline for these postings months ago with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Now comes today’s Wall Street Journal with this hilarious piece about Olympic athletes who are LITERALLY planning to wear gas masks in Beijing.
U.S. triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker has a decision to make at the opening ceremony of the Olympics next month in Beijing: Should he strap on a mask?
Chinese officials insist the notorious Beijing air will be cleaner by August, making such contraptions unnecessary. Concerned about the pollution, the U.S. Olympic Committee is distributing a high-tech mask, developed in secrecy, to its more than 600 Olympians. If athletes deploy it, they risk insulting the hosts. Then there’s the geek factor.
“I probably will want to wear it,” says the 26-year-old Mr. Shoemaker, who plans to have his mask on nearly all the time he’s in Beijing when not competing. “Whether I will be allowed to is a different issue.”
Though the practice is less common today, Chinese for years have worn masks to protect their lungs from the country’s heavy dust and pollution. But foreigners wearing them during the Games this summer — particularly at the opening ceremony broadcast to billions of television viewers around the world? That’s a different matter.
(Link to full piece is here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121659379072468809.html?mod=hpp_us_pageone
Note that the piece carries the requisite “but wearing the masks would mean a loss of face for the hosts…” sentence.
If I’m a world class athlete who has to go breathe the poison they call air in Beijing, I’m not worried about the poor wittle Chinese hosts losing face. I’m concerned about my lungs.