This is a pretty big week for China. That's because the International Olympic Committee is in town to check on the air pollution at potential Olympic sites. And honestly, it's not looking real good.
Pollution levels in Beijing regularly reach five times higher than the safety level recommended by the World Health Organization. And IOC President Jacques Rogge has said unsafe levels of pollutants in the city might force some outdoor endurance events to be postponed or moved to another location.
The United Nations Environment Program plans to release a report Thursday on Beijing's efforts. But whatever that report says, it probably doesn't matter for a lot of countries and their athletes. And that's because they only plan on being in Beijing for their event and that's it.
In a story that has kind of slipped under the radar of late, it turns out that the U.S. is seriously looking into permanently basing their athletes in South Korea and then flying them into China just prior to competitions. The reason is so that they don't expose them to Beijing's terrible air quality.
And it's not just the U.S. that's mulling this. The British have already made plans to base their Olympic squad on the Chinese protectorate island of Macau, which is about 1,300 miles away from Beijing. The Australians are going to gut it out, but are apparently going to have an asthma doctor on hand.
Anyway, Thursday's findings are fairly important. Forcing the Chinese to move events probably won't help their psyche much.