Comments for en-gb 30 Fri 18 Apr 2014 16:21:04 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Quetzal12 Excellent blog, Mr. Fordyce. I am furious that the Olympic Committee scolded the cyclists who arrived Tuesday wearing masks covering their mouth and nose because the OC said that wearing a mask was offensive to China's efforts to be a good host. In my opinion, the host nation has an obligation to provide a forum in which nothing will impair the athelets' ability to do their best (excluding weather conditions), including crowd control and air quality. When the host nation breaches this duty of care, each athlete must take every reasonable measure to protect his own health and to promote his athletic abilities. Therefore, I condemn the Olympic Committee for putting the host's feelings above the realities of competition and traditional notions of justice and fair play. Thu 07 Aug 2008 22:12:59 GMT+1 Conasta This is a great article showing why athletes should wear face masks to filter out the larger particles of pollution, albeit not the smaller ones that can lodge into the lungs. If it makes China look bad for there lack of care for the environment and their people who have to live in such unhealthy conditions, then obviously China needs to literally clean up their act.Of course one must wait, like the Americans, and put the masks on after they arrive, otherwise China may very well revoke your visa, as the revealed truth might make the government of China look bad, an action they have already done to gold medalist Joey Cheek. Wed 06 Aug 2008 18:44:24 GMT+1 happierthanb4 I have been living in Beijing for over 20 years. I never have this lung problem. Wed 06 Aug 2008 12:27:35 GMT+1 jontunney A lot of comments on here seem obsessed with Tom "complaining" about the air quality. Where are the complaints?He's gone for a run and described what it was like. The end. Wed 06 Aug 2008 10:52:12 GMT+1 CycloneArmageddon "Every commentator will say, The pitch is a leveler. As will any smog on the day of a race being a leveler for all competitors... Like it or not, everyone is in the same boat."You equate rain with smog? That is, quite simply, very sad to hear. Tue 05 Aug 2008 16:55:17 GMT+1 Huanghe Great blog. As someone who loves Beijing (in spite of the pollution) and am going back to live there in September, it's refreshing to see a journalist who is not afraid to state the obvious... the air in BJ is pretty awful.That said, the pollution there right now is a lot better than I've seen it for some time, and you've got to take your hat off to the power of the government and the willingness of local people to make it happen. Sure, it's still not going to be good conditions for Olympic athletes doing any form of endurance sport, but it'll be good enough for the majority of events. I say good luck to them. Tue 05 Aug 2008 15:12:37 GMT+1 Ian-in-Bangkok Great to see you out there blogging again Tom. Of course, when we were training for the 1936 Olympic marathon we had it tough. We used to 'ave to get up out of the airport at twelve o'clock at night and lick the runway clean with tongue before they allowed us to put our kit on. We had half a pot noodle for breakfast with no egg on it, work twenty-four hours a day pushing buses up the motorways because they had no engines in them, and when we got back to the Olympic village our trainer would stab us in the eyes wit' javelins.Right. My mate here in the office has just told me that in 1904…He had to get out of the plane at ten o'clock at night half an hour before it took off, and at 40,000 feet free fall with no parachute into the training camp, having had his bags lost forever at Heathrow, then drink a cup of sulphuric Lucozade and eat the plastic trays used to hold the BOAC inflight meal, work seventy-nine hours a day building the stadium, and pay the government for permission to wear his running shoes, and when he crossed the finishing line, the founding fathers of the BBC would kill him and dance about on his grave singing Hallelujah.And you tell the athletes in Beijing that… and they won’t believe you. Tue 05 Aug 2008 09:55:47 GMT+1 Arthur Brede Iandregwick: I thought "Peking" might flush some pedant sinophile from under its stone. I remember the directive that flooded the news agencies a few decades back that instructed us to use the new transliteration for the capital and, since I was in the thick of the Tibetan refugee crisis at the time, I decided to bin it with the rest of the slime that was oozing out of China at the time. I notice that you solicit my definition of freedom without offering one of your own - if you have one. Suffice to say that I have never been persecuted for my sex, race, political beliefs, religion or occupation in Britain. I and my friends, as well as the people we were helping, suffered in various degrees, from the trivial to to the horrendous, for all of these in China. To come back to the thread, I think a wee canter round the streets of Peking is a very good way to assess air quality without descending into the morass of statistics and government gafla; pick your feet up, lads, this stuff's getting thicker by the minute. When the Olympics went to China the athletes were promised certain conditions. The Chinese government has not kept its word. This is simple, and contains a warning to us all about Chinese promises. Tue 05 Aug 2008 09:52:37 GMT+1 Waaaaart Its a marathon for gods sake. Its meant to be challenging. It will sort the men from the boys even more so. I personally prefer running when the conditions are more testing i.e when its snowing or in extreme heat. My most enjoyable half marathons and marathons for me have not been my quickest. You can't always have ideal conditions and I suspect the runners will now this and train suitably. I'd love a bash at doing this... Tue 05 Aug 2008 08:45:30 GMT+1 RubberNutz I think Jonesy is just jealous. There's fordyce living it up (and coughing up the rest) in Beijing whilst he's been sent to dodge the revolitionary guard in Tehran. I do suspect, however, that the BBC might have gotten a better idea as to the suitability of conditions for running by sending out a recently retired athlete or one who didn't quite qualify to make a more informed judgment on how bad it is. Tue 05 Aug 2008 08:19:30 GMT+1 Edmund iandrenwick, if you read the articile you will note that he says that he is still (and indeed gives this is one reason my he may not have been at his best) jetlagged. The reason why he did not attempt this on one of the pfrevious weekend days was perhaps:a) not in the country or b)had only just arrived. Tue 05 Aug 2008 07:54:50 GMT+1 phlip46 People who don't think that the air quality is an issue should ask themselves how they would feel if the Olympic swimmers were made to swim in a pool containing sewage! I think the IOC have been very short-sighted and I expect to see many lawsuits in the future from athletes with ruined health. I never understood why they run the marathons in the cities anyway. It's like having the swimming events in the local canal! Tue 05 Aug 2008 07:05:29 GMT+1 iandrenwick and Mercthrasher... if you really have been to "Peking", it really can't have been in the last century. And if you think London is "free", I'd love to see your definition of what this means. Tue 05 Aug 2008 06:32:39 GMT+1 iandrenwick An interesting choice of day, Mr. Fordyce. Methinks your story of running yesterday (when admittedly the air was not great - due in part due the naturally occuring haze locking in the pollution) ended up with a much more interesting result than you running on the crystal-clear, cloudless days we had here on the weekend... Tue 05 Aug 2008 06:29:03 GMT+1 jimmcdermott Presumably, a death or two during the marathon (that daftest of Olympic 'sports') will provide an appropriate memorial to its unwitting founder, Pheidippides. Tue 05 Aug 2008 06:06:18 GMT+1 Otis_Paul The Blue Sky Martini:I have created a new recipe for a martini in honor of the "double-speak" and obfuscation of the Chinese officials when reporting on the Beijing air quality.Apparently these officials fail to measure particulate count when they report the smog levels and then say there is "blue sky". This smog has been well documented by BBC news reports of the event.On July 29th while visiting the Jietai Temple in the hills East of Beijing, I saw several sites of smog production which apparently were still active that day. One appeared to be a coal fired electrical plant. I have an image of that if anyone wishes to see it.Later that day some frineds and I created a new Martini recipe called the "Beijing Blue Sky"; a parody of the Chinese smog reports. It is made with Moutai, a Chinese herbal liquor (similar to gin), mixed with equal parts of Ouzo, the popular licorice flavored Greek drink in honor of the Olympics, and equal parts water. It is shaken with ice and and garnished with a red (a popular color in China) licorice stick. When shaken with ice, it becomes cloudy as the sky truly is on a Beijing "Blue Sky" day.I have since returned to the states and introduced the drink at the University Club here in San Francisco. It will be offered to patrons of the bar while watching the Olympics this week.CheersOtis PaulSan Francisco, California USA Tue 05 Aug 2008 05:37:06 GMT+1 lornajh05 Rideas:Before you start commenting that London is only 63rd in the world in terms of health and sanitation, maybe you should go look where Beijing is in this list. Beijing is 166th in the world scoring only 60.3 whereas London has a score of 111.2.But ignoring the sanitation as thats not whats the important thing or even access to medical care (also what the scoring is about) its the pollution that is the concern, which from what Tom Fordyce is saying seems to be a big problem. And as that score has absolutely nothing to do with the pollution, why even mention it?Oh and as for the " majority of Brits" wanting to live in Caribbean or Spain? Have you seen just how many people live in the UK?? Relatively speaking I think there aren't that many who want to live in the Carribean or Spain. And a lot of people actually want to live here, despite our only being 63rd in the world. Mon 04 Aug 2008 23:25:38 GMT+1 susijen I'm hoping that the world's top athletes will get together and boycott events where the pollution will affect their performance, rather than those left standing collecting the medals. This would make a much better statement than the farce which will otherwise occur.The Chinese government are used to crushing anyone who defies them, what will they do when the world's top athletes refuse to compete.It is not only the Chinese government but the IOC who are responsible for the farce that the Olympics will be this year! Mon 04 Aug 2008 22:49:15 GMT+1 David Jonesy,Do you really want the smog to be a "great leveller"? To continue your example, the FA Cup Final isn't played on a boggy, mudbath of a pitch, it's played on a pitch that gives the players the greatest possible chance of playing well. Don't the marathon runners deserve the same courtesy?Your rant about everything wrong with Britain is clearly irrelevant; try to stick to the topic. Beijing's air quality is horrendous. Mon 04 Aug 2008 22:38:55 GMT+1 Khanra84 At least China is TRYING to do something, in India, they are building the world's cheapest car, which will jam the already smoggy skies with millions of tons of particulates. Environmentalists would literally cringe at the sight of the cars, buses, and motor rickshaws here, which seemingly vomit out thick black smoke. And think, it will get even worse! Mon 04 Aug 2008 20:06:43 GMT+1 Arthur Brede Now then, everyone, we mustn't say anything bad about our Olympic hosts. Their internet thought police will only fill the blog with garbage - Jonesy-baby, the British Prime minister may be a waste of space, but he's not polluting Peking and his party was democratically elected; a running quailo terrorist lookalike who refuses a Chinese police order to stop is, of course, gently restrained and offered counselling, probably at the Tienenmen Square centre; and 50 years of systematic Chinese genocide in Tibet is, of course, justified by the hysterical reaction of one cretinous American president to the first successful foreign attack on the US mainland. I've been to Peking. It's a filthy, ill-mannered, totalitarian hole. At least London's free, for all its faults. Mon 04 Aug 2008 18:18:37 GMT+1 Alex Banks A lot of the users are missing the point. He's not trying to assess China or Beijing's Olympics, politics and preparedness, he's merely trying to give us a feel for what it'll be like for the endurance runners there, be they going round in circles inside the stadium or out on the roads in the marathon.I've been to Beijing too, last November. It's as bad as the photos indicate and Tom and other writers have said and I didn't run anywhere, spending a few hours walking around was more than enough. Lonelyplanet reckons it's equivalent to smoking 70 cigarettes a day and I can easily believe it. Mon 04 Aug 2008 16:44:02 GMT+1 jonesstrikesback fjsm33... Firstly, Im not the only one who's going to be needing an undertaker at the end of my life! (I'll let you into a secret.... You will snuff it along with everyone else on this planet)My point here is that there are other athletes competing in Beijing who train, work, live and have prepared for the games, not least the Chinese Athletes in those said conditions mentioned by Fordyce... Think of the English FA cup here, A Bitter January day, Hacking down with rain and a pitch that resembles an Irish bog. Every commentator will say, The pitch is a leveler. As will any smog on the day of a race being a leveler for all competitors... Like it or not, everyone is in the same boat.Presumably the United Kingdom has no improvements to make... An unelected Prime Minister sitting in number ten... knowledge of redition flights.... The of an shooting innocent Brazilian on the underground... student.... Lying to go to war in Iraq... the list is endless. Having worked at el beeb... I know that sending 450 journalist to an event means they will be pitching stories to every single news program in the network.... If you know your news... Bad news sells and If your in the UK, your going to be seeing a lot of it over the next five months! Its the way the organisation works. If it wasn't a drama, then why are westerners and Athletes and the IOC moaning about not having access to certain internet sites? When in Rome springs to mind... and that means internet restrictions.... Get in the bath... No the Olympics are not in Tehran but Fordyce did bring in a multitude of other countries... So I brought in the one I currently reside in... I'll let you know how it is in Venezuela next year.... Or how it was to run in Singapore, Doha, Dubai, Afghanistan... Same same but different. Also, Yes I spent a good few years being in top condition for her majesty... Thing was I was taught to run in less than perfect conditions with a bergen on my back... Perhaps the Journo shouldn't have gone out at 9am but a little earlier for his PT... try it at 5 am Mr Fordyce. Mon 04 Aug 2008 16:41:30 GMT+1 1981suede @deldel007As was pointed out, he was running at the same time the Marathon and Triathalon will take place. Seems quite sensible to me. Mon 04 Aug 2008 16:03:42 GMT+1 1981suede I'd like to direct those criticising this article to another blog on this website entitled "London needs to work on air quality too".Why is it that any post in the least bit critical of China and the lack of follow through on their promises gets attacked? A lot of paranoia is evidently present. Mon 04 Aug 2008 16:02:09 GMT+1 Crouching Peter Hidden Talent Let's get some perspective here, if this guy chooses to run during rush hour right next to a busy street and that's his way of testing the air quality, I suggest he should not damage another organ as he is already suffering from dementia. Ok, the air quality is not perfect, udont have to run next to a busy street to confirm that and no wonder you felt like running behind a bus , as u probably did> Nex time, choose a park Mon 04 Aug 2008 15:59:09 GMT+1 fjsm33 Jonesstrikesback -Smoking, running in Tehran and Asthma don't sound like a great cocktail - Just because you think it's a good idea, doesn't mean it is... your local undertaker may be the ultimate beneficiary.The point Tom Fordyce is plainly making is that the air quality in Beijing is dreadful and it won't do the athletes any good.Your conspiracy theory that the BBC has decided to paint China in a bad light is almost funny. Presumably you think China has no improvements to make? Mon 04 Aug 2008 15:20:48 GMT+1 invinciblejimbot87 As a former resident of Beijing, I really do sympathise with you Tom. Then again, you haven't had it bad until you cough up black stuff every morning.When I first went out a Chinese colleague asked me what I thought of the city. When I responded that it was an amazing city but that the air was very bad I got a very puzzled response. My colleague couldn't believe that Beijing was as bad as China, and showed me a Google image of a proper pea-souper to prove it!A lot of comments here suggest that we Westerners should get to know China before we criticise it. All I can say is that perhaps there is a lot of ignorance on both sides... Mon 04 Aug 2008 15:15:28 GMT+1 U9563463 "I live in the pollution filled Tehran and Im frequently on the roads running swimming cycling and avoiding the Paykan's which cause the smog as with the heavy industry in the south of the city.... Whats your point?"1.) Is Tehran holding the Olympics? NO! 2.) He was testing the conditions to see how the athletes who are competing in Beijing may cope (note Beijing not Tehran)3.) Tehran has not promised (unlike Beijing) that it would substantially reduce pollution levels for the games (which again Tehran is not holding).4.) Athletes should ideally compete in optimum conditions. Unless I am wrong, I am guessing you are not an elite athlete and are not competing for an Olympic medal. You therefore don't train ridiculous hours for years on end, to then find out your chances may be severly affected by pollution. Mon 04 Aug 2008 15:13:01 GMT+1 daveycappers rideas, your comments are equally stupid. The whole point of the article was to assess the air quality that currently exists in Beijing. Admittedly in an unscientific manner. This is obviously of concern to atheletes competing in the forthcoming olympics. You yourself stated that 'Granted air quality is not so good in Beijing but I dont think air quality or quality of living in london is that great either. Ofcourse dont compare with the worst.' Air in London, while not sweet smelling and smelling of roses is by far and away better than Beijing, being well within the WHO standards. Yes, your other stats may be correct, but that isn't the issue here - the air quality is and it is definitely poor in Beijing. Mon 04 Aug 2008 15:05:32 GMT+1 girtholomew I am amused by all the rubbish the above are posting, but not surprised.To compare London to Beijing or Bangkok is laughable. This is clearly an issue and was enough of an issue for the IOC to seek what now seems like empty assurances from the Chinese.Top performance athletes are not served at all well by having to perform in pollution and particulate levels that high. All these 'just get on with it' messages are nonsense. Mon 04 Aug 2008 14:53:09 GMT+1 jonesstrikesback Well Mr Fordyce, I would like to call you a moaning hack to be honest. I have suffered from Asthma in my teen years, Im a smoker (15 a day) I live in the pollution filled Tehran and Im frequently on the roads running swimming cycling and avoiding the Paykan's which cause the smog as with the heavy industry in the south of the city.... Whats your point? In life you have to deal with things beyond your control.... just like the athletes, or are you like the BBC, using the deployment of around 450 staff to paint China in a bad light? Sounds to me from your description that its your fitness thats the issue.... the fitter than you hack in Tehran... Mon 04 Aug 2008 14:42:06 GMT+1 LennyGodber44 1 Mon 04 Aug 2008 14:13:56 GMT+1 Oxfordrich I still predict a number of world records being broken. Those athletes are one step ahead and within their drug cocktails are probably compounds that turn the smog to an undetectable body boosting compound! These games will be a farce... even without the pollution Mon 04 Aug 2008 14:13:37 GMT+1 rideas This blog is stupid. It really nauseates me!!!!!Its time for everybody in the western world, especially British to stop whinging like a baby.Granted air quality is not so good in Beijing but I dont think air quality or quality of living in london is that great either. Ofcourse dont compare with the worst.London is only 12th in EU capital city rankings for health and sanitation and 63rd in the world. crying British journalist.Its high time Brits or British journalist to accept that China will be hosting the games, no whinging or crying will change that.Can anybody tell me why is that British always complain about other parts of the world and majority of Brits wants to live in Caribbean or Spain Mon 04 Aug 2008 13:55:49 GMT+1 AbuDhabiCounty I'm surprised you weren't pulled over by the cops for those short-shorts! Mon 04 Aug 2008 13:53:25 GMT+1 U9563463 Good point. I bet he still hasn't burnt off all the cheese, wine and beer he consumed in France!At least any excursions about cycling (aka tour de france route) will have more relevance at an Olympics than they did during a rugby world cup! Mon 04 Aug 2008 12:58:05 GMT+1 Viva La Revolution Having witnessed Dirsy's tab habit firsthand, the (obscured) picture you paint is truly disturbing. You can add Bangkok to the list of cities not to run in; even if it was possible to find space to run in, the pollution and deathwish driving of the tuk-tuk drivers make sitting in a bar drinking copious amounts of Tsing a far healthier option. Mon 04 Aug 2008 12:54:28 GMT+1 jontunney For God's sake Fordyce - one day out of the camper van and you're wheezing like an old man with a lifelong 20-a-day habit. And you call yourself a triathlete. Mon 04 Aug 2008 12:53:59 GMT+1 U9563463 I suppose there are always going to be issues on a marathon route. I remember Athens were heavily criticised for having a very tough route in searing temperatures. I'm guessing if you did a similar test in 2004 you would have been complaining about the horrendous heat (the media made a lot about it when Radcliffe ran in 2004). London may give runners decent conditions - but then again it might rain - alot! Mon 04 Aug 2008 12:49:52 GMT+1 pontoon_g117 Tom, thanks for confirming what I reckon most of us suspected - the marathons will probably come down to last athlete standing. What happened to wanting the world's best to perform to their maximum, I wonder.By the way, has Mr Dirs made the trip? Or will he be looking after those of us who can still bring ourselves to follow the cricket? Mon 04 Aug 2008 12:45:53 GMT+1 Josh Lines Very good article. I used to live in Hong Kong which is very similair in terms of air pollution to China, after living their for around two years we had to move back to England and now both me and my Dad suffer from breathing problems that were developed whilst in Hong Kong. Mon 04 Aug 2008 11:52:53 GMT+1