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USOC Official: Air Quality Not a Concern for US Olympic Delegation in Beijing
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Air quality will not be a concern for the US delegation during the Beijing Olympic Games, said Steven M. Roush, chief of sport performance in the US Olympic Committee (USOC), on Thursday in Beijing.



Steven M. Roush, chief of sport performance in the US Olympic Committee (USOC) gives a speech.


"I anticipate the improvement in Beijing's air quality next year, and we will continue to monitor it, so the air condition is not a concern for US team," said Roush, who is leading the US Goodwill Tour group in commemorating the one-year-out date of the Beijing Olympics.


"I witnessed China's handling of traffic during the Sino-Africa summit, so I am confident of Chinese government in its capacity of dealing with air and traffic. It won't be a problem for us," added Roush.


The six US Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls in the Tour echoed Roush's view.


Gao Jun, a three-time table tennis Olympian (1992, 2000, 2004), said that the air condition in Beijing won't be bother her.


"Air quality is not a problem in Beijing at all. Air pollution is a commonplace in most of the big cities worldwide, and Beijing is determined to get it improved step by step, so there is no need to worry about that," said Gao, who won a silver for China in the doubles event in the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 and also played for the US in the Sydney and Athens Games.


Gao has booked her spot for her fourth Olympics next year after winning the women's singles event in the Pan American Games in Riode Janeiro last month.


Howard Bach, a badminton player in the Tour, said air quality is out of his consideration during the Beijing Olympic Games.


"I live in Los Angeles, and it's not very good there in air. I also spend a lot of time in Colorado Springs, where I enjoy very clean air. For us athletes, we travel around the world, so I won't concern too much on it. It's a game for everybody and we are competing in the same air," said Bach.


Bach and his partner Tony Gunawan won the doubles title at the 2005 World Championships, the first world title won by US badminton athletes.


Among the Tour, there are also Lindsay Pian (in archery), Donny Popvich (in BMX cycling), Iris Zimmerman (in fencing) and Erin Popovich (in Paralympic swimming).


Pian is ranked No. 3 in the US. Her father, Robert, is a first generation Chinese-American and both of her grandparents are from the Tianjin municipality.


Popovich, in her first Paralympic Games in 2000, won a whopping six medals -- three gold and three silver -- and set four world records in the process. She put together what may have been the most impressive performance of any athlete at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, where she competed in seven events and came home with seven gold medals.


Popovich was born with achondroplasia, a genetic disorder of bone growth that is evident at birth.


Robinson turned pro in 2002 and has since become the top BMX rider in the world. His latest career victory was winning the 2006 National Bicycle League (NBL) pro title.


Zimmerman competed at the 2000 Olympic Games, finishing fourth in the team foil event and 11th in individual foil. She had all but hung up her sword until the IOC brought back the women's team foil event for 2008 after its absence in 2004.


(BOCOG August 3, 2007)

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