Australia to skip opening ceremony

In a surprising move, Athletics Australia has banned its athletes from marching in the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. They are concerned about Beijing’s pollution and believe it could harm athlete’s health

Beijing Olympic organizers are obviously not happy with the news, as they have been working hard with the government to clean up the environment.

“Wow, you’re kidding,” said the spokesman for the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, Jeff Ruffolo, on hearing the news yesterday from the Herald. “That’s the first time we’ve heard anything about athletes themselves pulling out of the opening ceremony.”

Athletics Australia’s national performance manager, Max Binnington said, “Never was it intended to be a criticism of China, the Chinese Government or the Beijing Olympic Committee,” he said. “We think they will put on a wonderful show and they will do anything to minimise the inconenience for athletes. We wouldn’t be going to Hong Kong if we thought there was something wrong with China, and this isn’t the first time we’ve gone in late.”

Athletes look for any edge they can in their preparations, so I am sure organizers are anxious that other countries don’t follow suit.

Australian athletes are not happy with the decision. Walking into a sports stadium with 90,000 cheering fans at one of the most anticipated Olympic games could provide a source of motivation for athletes.

This is what Australian heptathlete Kylie Wheeler had to say:

“At the same time, I understand where they are coming from. Ultimately they want us to give our best performance, and they think this is the best thing to do. But it would have been nice to come to some intermediary solution. For me, after having been to one, I know the motivation and excitement it generates. For me it’s really important for my preparation; I get excited about it, and from that I get really motivated.”

Posted by Mike 11 years ago

filed under: Australia

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Comments

Stephan Larose - June 18, 2008 @ 10:06 am

The Australians will be relieved they didn’t go once they see acid rain melting the other athletes faces of their skulls during the opening ceremonies, then they’ll have a big advantage!

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