The British have developed a mask for their athletes to wear in competition do to theextreme poluttion that persists in Beijing. It’s a result of coal-fired industries, geographical location and a huge amount of cars. The truth is, Beijing is covered in a thick grey cloud most of the time. In fact, the air quality is so bad that people were told to stay inside their homes recently due to ‘hazardous pollution levels.’

As a result, several Olympic events may be delayed or postponed, in light of the health risks to the athletes: in an Olympic biking test event last September, just eight of fifty riders finished, most blaming the dropouts on breathing problems and nausea. No countries will be basing their athletes in Beijing, but will house them as far afield as Korea, Japan and Macau. Many are arriving at the games at the last possible moment, to limit the chances of their lungs looking like a smokers.

Team GB, however, has found a unique solution to the smog – a breathing device that can be worn right up to the starter’s gun. The tiny gas mask (pictured above) has been tested in a training camp in South Africa last week by athletes, but under Olympic rules it must be removed during all events.

Under these circumstances, it will be hard to see many Olympic records being smashed. In fact, it will be hard to see anything at all. Via

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