6 Aug 2008

U.S. cyclists fly into China with face mask

3:24 pm on 6 August 2008

Some members of the United States ycling squad have arrived for the Olympic Games wearing black respiratory masks, apparently concerned over reports of unhealthy levels of air pollution in Beijing.

About half a dozen members of the team, male and female, were pictured wearing close-fitting face masks covering nose and mouth as they went through Beijing airport.

One was identified as Mike Friedman, a track cyclist who competes indoors.

But a U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman says he doesn't think the masks were necessary and a cycling official tried to play down the incident which some Chinese may see as provocative

Beijing's pollution has been a cause for concern for athletes although the IOC says there is no reason for alarm.