July 28th, 2008
03:59 PM ET

Mistake to award Olympic Games to China?


Beijing's National Stadium, which is nicknamed 'Bird Nest', covered with smog. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The air in Beijing is heavy with a whole lot more than anticipation in advance of the Summer Olympic Games which begin in less than 2 weeks. Pollution in China's capital is reaching dangerous levels.

Chinese state media reports that if the air quality doesn't improve, they could pull up to 90% of the cars off the road in Beijing and shut down more factories. This comes after an air pollution control plan implemented over a week ago – it included pulling half of the city's 3 million vehicles off the roads, closing factories in and around Beijing and halting most construction. So far it hasn't worked.

For the last 5 days, Beijing's air pollution index has failed to meet the standard for "good" air quality, with visibility reduced to several hundred yards. Just the kind of stuff you want your athletes breathing.

More than 10,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected for the games. Some teams, including our own, are offering optional breathing masks for their athletes.

And pollution isn't the only issue plaguing the Beijing games. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is warning China not to use Olympic security as an excuse to crack down on legitimate dissent. Chinese officials have made several terror-related arrests and insist that the Olympics are threatened by terrorists. But some are concerned China – which hasn't presented much evidence in these crackdowns – is just going after people who disagree with them. Most experts say the threat from terrorists is low.

And then there are the free-speech activists and those focused on Tibet and Darfur who have gone after China ahead of the summer games.
Here’s my question to you: In light of pollution in Beijing among other issues, was it a mistake to award the Olympic Games to China?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Nathan from Chicago writes:
Not only was it a mistake, but it’s embarrassing to the people of China. I have a Chinese friend who confirms this. He says China has too much poverty to host the Olympics. Plain and simple without skimming over any of the other issues. Told me he's clueless as to why they were awarded the Olympics. Our government couldn't care even if it wanted to because of the trillions of dollars in debt our government has chained us to when it comes to dealing with China.

Chad from Los Angeles writes:
Great pictures of pollution in Beijing! Glad I don't have to go and breathe that air, but then again, I am in Los Angeles, so I get my fair share...

Debbie from Dallas writes:
It wasn't a mistake for awarding the games to them. It was a mistake that China didn't work diligently to reduce issues such as the pollution and fix their human rights issues before 2008. They had years to make an impact, didn't they?

Kyle from Dayton, Ohio writes:
Has China received any good publicity for the Olympic Games? Horrible pollution and unbelievable government censorship are the keynote stories thus far. The Olympic Games places China under a microscope highlighting numerous issues that are continually disregarded by Chinese authorities. Maybe the Olympics will improve the life of the average Chinese people – something far greater than any sporting event.

Buster from Poughkeepsie, New York writes:
I don't know about you Jack, but I'm really looking forward to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing… I can't wait to watch all the sprinters and long-distance runners flying around the track in their colorful Hazmat suits, huffing and puffing through their state-of-the-art gas masks… But, I have to admit, the most interesting event will be the women's pole-vaulting competition, where fabulously fit females disappear into the smog and reappear with third degree burns from the sulfuric-acid atmosphere. Nothing beats holding the Olympics in a Superfund Site.

Filed under: Beijing Olympics
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Jan

    I don't know, but it would definitely have been a mistake if it was award to the USA.

    Jan, from Netherlands

    July 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Major Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Looks like another "repeater question" Jack. Yes it was, however, since nothing we intend is ever faultless, and nothing we attempt ever without error, and nothing we achieve is without some measure of finitude and fallibility we call humanness, we are saved by forgiveness.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  3. Willow, Sheldon Iowa

    My viewpoint might be a bit unpopular, but I think we needed to start pulling China and a lot of other Asian countries into the 21st Century. Sure, they're doing it wrong with their pollution, etc. But a lot of their human rights violations are because they are still living in the past ways of doing things. Lately, it is said that more Chinese are online than Americans. They are gradually being pulled in to modern times and I think it is definitely for the best. If we can keep them with us, they will not fall back on their old ways.

    When you look at how wrong they are doing it, they remind me of 1950s USA. Sooner or later, they will get it right. The only way to keep them in tune with the rest of the world is respect, diplomacy and helpful hints.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  4. Chad , Los Angeles, CA

    Jack, all those issues are great reasons they should have not awarded China, but also, the time zone difference will make it most frustrating, we won't know if what we are watching is live or happened 8 hours ago.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  5. Geri Britt

    Probably. Nevertheless, I think China will put on the best opening ceremonies show yet. They have always been very bright, innovative, and creative people, even if their leaders have always had the mentality of warlords. Some things just don't change Jack.

    Geri – Mead, OK

    July 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  6. Joe in DE

    The question is: how do judge judgement? Twent – twenty year hindsight?

    July 28, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  7. Chad , Los Angeles, CA

    The time zone issue is what bugs me the most, we won't know if we're watching live events or are not

    July 28, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  8. Terry from North Carolina

    I dont think it was a mistake, however if you do go to China to attend the Olympics, make sure you bring your own food and several oxygen tanks.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  9. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    Politically correct, environmentally wrong. Just like a bunch of folk in D.C. Heck, Jack, I figger if we start now – cleaning up the atmosphere, all that stuff – in another 100 years or so we would qualify to hold outdoor games in places like Los Angeles or Fargo. Maybe 200 years for Beijing.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  10. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    The air quality will be an issue, but so too will China's human rights record. They certainly could have found a better location for the Olympics.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  11. Frank from Peterborough

    It would be difficult to keep the Olympics away from China because in reality they are now the world's super power both economically and militarily. Perhaps the Olympics will assist them in establishing better human rights and pollution standards as time goes on.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  12. Don Ferguson

    I think it's a great thing to have the Olympics in China. The images of dirty air might convince even right wing republicans to accept that we have serious, global, environmental problems.

    Fergie in Bluffton, SC

    July 28, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  13. John from Chicago

    No mistake Jack. Its good the world sees how repressive the Chinese government is towards its people. China is still a communist dictatorship. They are not friends of America.

    It will be funny to see marathon runners wearing masks because the air pollution is so bad.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  14. Anthony Smith

    Yes! Furthermore, we should boycott all the Chinese restaurants in this country. It's like Mexican or KFC, I crave it about once a month and usually have the runs afterwards!

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    July 28, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  15. Jack Blakley


    No, it's not. We must be accepting of other cultures and lifestyles no matter what. Isn't that what liberals want?

    Jack B.
    Bloomington, MN

    July 28, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  16. Rosalynd Florida

    In hindsight, Yes. I guess the Olympics comittee was so eager to offer the games to a growing China they did not do their homework. Now China's solution to the air pollution problem, send workers home without pay around the Olympics. Talking about making a bad situation worse!

    July 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  17. Ted Beaverton, OR

    In 1936, the Berlin Olympics no doubt had a bit of discussion too. Hitler needed a positive propaganda tool, however the world recognized his devious plans and dealt with it. 10 years later he was dead. Maybe this will be a world recognitin of prime human rights failures of the Chinese Communist government and that it too will be dead and gone in 10 years.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  18. Chryssa

    Haven't we been over this? Yes, it was a mistake. It's sad China is willing to take steps to reduce pollution only for the sake of appearance – steps the government wouldn't take for the health and safety of its own people.

    Boise, ID

    July 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  19. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Yes, it is a big mistake because it validates Communisim in the eyes of other nations. But since China is the only true Superpower left in the world, I guess it was inevitable. I just feel sorry for the athletes who have to endure such bad air quality.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  20. Ruthie, Stone Mountain, GA

    I think it’s great for China to host the Olympic Games but it’s a mistake doing it now. There are human rights issues that China should have resolved before allowing the Olympic to be held there. China also has several environmental issues that need to be address as well. Those should have been some of the stipulations for China to host the Olympic Games.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  21. Cliff Dick

    Absolutly not.he games may go a long way for better relations with China. I spent some time there in the past and believe it will help in the future

    July 28, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  22. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Well, I suppose it was better than when they were awarded to Hitler and Nazi Germany; but not by much.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  23. Joe in DE

    It was not a mistake to award he games, but with continuing human rights violations, it was a mistake not to cancel. At the very least, Bush should not attend opening cermony.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  24. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I bought a folding travel toothbrush the other day to visit relatives in another state and it read Made in China. We made a fuss about Obama not wearing the flag pin and not being patriotic, it too was made in China. If the olympics is considered an award to China then we have been rewarding them for many years.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  25. Andrew

    I think that China is a terrible choice. Between the pollution, climate, political climate and more.. I would have chosen elsewhere.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  26. Dan, Chantilly VA

    The pollution problem is just one bullet on a long list of reasons why China is ill-equipped to handle the Olympics. Everyone will be awed by the majesty of the events and the beauty of the stadiums (assuming they've finished the construction), but no one will step back and consider all the shady behind the scenes work that went into preparing Beijing. And I doubt any of the camera crews will be filming more than 100 yards outside the Olympic area. Knowing China, they probably won't be allowed to film.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  27. John in Atlanta

    Let's see...had to conceal the torch from the masses in Europe and the united States. Tibet. Pollution. Hmmmm, this is a stretch....yeah. I reckon it was a mistake.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  28. Kevin

    No. I believe it gives China a chance to present itself and try and make a good impression to the rest to the world.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  29. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    in the immortal words of Homer Simpson.... "DOH!!!!"

    Pablo in Arlington texas

    July 28, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  30. Greg, PA

    Jack, It was a mistake to award Al Gore the Nobel Peace Prize, the olympics in Bejing was an error in judgment.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  31. Michael, Orlando, Florida.

    big mistake.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  32. Gigi in Alabama

    Smog is a problem, but their position on human rights is a much larger problem. That alone should have kept them from getting the nod from the Olympics committee.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  33. Vinnie Vino

    ASK AL GORE...

    C.I., New York

    July 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  34. Michael Smith, New Orleans

    No, I look forward to seeing who wins the gold medal in Smog Hurling.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  35. circy in New Mexico

    Who's China?

    July 28, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  36. David Richards

    Considering the air quality of Beijing isn't improving I'm sure athletes at outdoor venues will think it was a mistake.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  37. Tina (Texas)

    No this is life. If you want Olympic games to be fair each country should be allowed to host them. If it met with the Olympic committee guidelines then we as Americans need to quit whinning about the crappy air quality. You can either go or keep your butt at home.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  38. Ray from West Chester, PA

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the Olympics. We definitely don't want to see it fail. It's an international showcase demonstrating that we can get along peacefully. I just hope the pollution doesn't mar the events in any way for the athletes or the specators.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  39. Lisa in Ga.

    Jack, first and foremost, apparently they think it is ok. This just goes to show that money and fame is more important than the human life. I guess we know they don't believe in global warming. Next!

    July 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  40. Tom in Desoto Texas

    Perhaps with the exposure to the world who watches the olympics, other countries will try and influnce China to clean up their situation. It will cost less today than tomorrow.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  41. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    Not as much of a mistake as borrowing all our money from China so that they now OWN us. Who's our daddy?

    July 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  42. mitchell ,arkansaw

    i believe there would be worse protests,if the games were held in the usa.the world wants our arrogant arses out of iraq,and they dont like the way we have been torturing people in gitmo.china's fine,they're about as popular as we are ,these days.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  43. Kyle from Dayton, OH

    Has China received any good publicity for the Olympic Games? Horrible pollution and unbelievable government censorship are the keynote stories thus far. The Olympic Games places China under a microscope highlighting numerous issues that are continually disregarded by Chinese authorities. Maybe the Olympics will improve the life of the average Chinese people – something far greater than any sporting event.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  44. Will from San Jose, CA

    It was not a mistake at all. The pollution and crackdowns in China have been like this for years, but without cameras focusing on the situation we go through our daily lives oblivious to the situation.

    Would we rather just look away while the situation continues unchanged? Like we have with Darfur, New Orleans, and Zimbabwe.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  45. Marty

    It's not an overall bad idea. Afterall, they are world games and China is a large part of the world even though their treatment of people is wrong. What concerns me is the air quality. Bad air quality and atheletes don't mix. Add all the people from other countries attending and the situation is frightening.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  46. David Dallas, Texas

    I don't think any country would have been a good choice for a sporting event that is only going to make event organizers and sponsors more money. The Olympics has become so commercialized that it isn't about the athletes and ability at all. It now is about the logos the sponsors and the equipment. There is no amount of water or gym shorts sun block or shoes, credit cards or anything else that will make an athlete any better yet that is where the attention goes. Commercials have more air time then events.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  47. nathan in Chicago

    Not only was it a mistake but its embarrassing to the people of China. I have a Chinese friend who confirms this. He says China has too much poverty to host the Olympics. plain and simple without skimming over any of the other issues. Told me he's clueless as to why they were awarded the olympics. Our government couldn't care even if it wanted to because of the Trillions of dollars in debt our government's chained us to when it comes to dealing with China.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  48. Debbie, Dallas, TX

    It wasn't a mistake for awarding the games to them. It was a mistake that China didn't work diligently to reduce issues such as the pollution and fix their human rights issues before 2008. They had 4 years to make an impact, didn't they?

    July 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  49. Sandi McBride

    This is not a case of hind sight being 20/20. The Committee had to know that polution levels in China were at dangerous levels...so why were they even considered for this? What are the people supposed to do who actually live there while their factories close and their cars are not allowed to run, get used to breathing nearly actual air that you can't see and then go back to breathing solids? Maybe we need to examine the Olympic Committee and find out where THEIR heads were at the time.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  50. Les From Lakeland, FL

    The IOC made the decision and it is what we must live with. A poor showing by China will do more to destroy their credibility worldwide. They still are a dictatorship with an oppressive government. Let the chips fall where they may.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  51. Scott - Wichita, Kansas

    well, let's see, the air quality is so bad that some aircraft would be grounded due to lack of visibility. They are arresting people who are making legitimate protests. However, bringing all these things to light is a GOOD thing the Olympics have done. Remember all the "Free Tibet" protests that were going on? No one would've even cared, had the Olympics not made them apparent. So, yes, the Olympics in Beijing is a good thing, for finally making these issues apparent.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  52. Anne/Seattle

    It's a joke which shows the Olympics committee is not the brightest group on the international scene. Of all the reasons the Olympics exist, the competition between atheletes is paramount. Why ignore the realities of a booming China to put the athelets in such an unhealthy environment? Not only was the decision a joke but it is also totally lacking in integrity.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  53. Chad , Los Angeles, CA

    Great photo! Glad I don't have to go and breath that air, but then again, I am in Los Angeles, so I get my fair share...

    July 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  54. Dick B

    I don't think so . They paid the most to Olympic selection committee and thereby earned the right to the games. It is just like our Congress and the special interests and the lobby folks. I don't think we should change the system just because of a few health and human rights issues.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  55. Paul, Columbia, SC

    The Olympics will be over before you know it and all these questions won't amount to anything. Good luck to our Olympic athletes from the USA. Focus on the sport and forget the politics.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  56. Jim in BC

    Yes, it was a mistake to award the Olympic games to China. But then it is a mistake to award the Olympic games to any city other than Athens.

    Athens, Greece was the original site of the Olympic Games and should be designated the permanent site of the games.

    Doing so would eliminate the corruption and most of the political controversies surrounding the games.

    It would make sport the sole focus of the Olympics.

    Then I would become interested in them again.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  57. Susan, Indianapolis

    I originally thought it was a mistake, but the fact that China is evidently not able to cosmetically disguise the fruits of its uncontrolled industrial pollution may be the greatest education the world's "average Joe" may receive. The Chinese are very sensitive about controlling opinion. I don't think they realize that the rest of the world is not as easily manipulated as its own oppressed people.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  58. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Having lived in Los Angeles and Chicago and visited San Jose, Costa Rica and Mexico City, we would really begin narrowing down our choices. Besides the winds will blow at least some of that around the world in a few days. You can run but you can't breathe.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  59. Philip from Toronto

    I'm just happy that it isn't in Canada...and hope it never will be. Stupid waste of Taxpayers money, as if the Chinese have a say. Rome would be a good place, at the Coliseum maybe.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  60. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    I am not so sure awarding any country the Olympics does much for the ordinary citizen except maybe costing them tax dollars with the only benefits going to the country's tourism and other industries.

    In any event hopefully the Olympics won't hurt China financially as the U.S. might need a lot more of their financing if McCain gets elected in November!

    July 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  61. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Not at all. It has helped lower the demand on gas to be one of the factors to reduce prices. It's given some of the factory workers time off, without pay and will require them to slave even more to make up for lost time and it will get the current prez out of the country for a few days to make us look even worse as a country. If this sounds cynical, it is, but it is also the facts Jack.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |

    it's no worse than awarding L A the summer olympics and besides , it gets bush out of our hair for a little while. maybe the chinese will do us a favor and keep him. personally i'd like to trade him for a couple of panda bears, they're smarter and cuter.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  63. Darren S.

    It was a bigger mistake to award China the games due to their human rights voilations but fear not troops, George W. Bush will be there for the opening ceremonies, hobnobbing with his lender's for the Iraq Occupation.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  64. Bryan

    Absolutely not. Why would you want to isolate the fastest growing country in the world. Having said that, they have human rights issues, pollution problems, a lot of other problems, but they an emerging country with a billion or so people. So they have a few problems what country doesn't? If we isolated them from the rest of the world they might become like North Korea, that would be very scarry indeed.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  65. Tom, Avon, Maine,The Heart of Democracy

    In some of Ted Koppel's historic reporting, it can be seen that the resultant international spotlight has China's government going somewhat toward cleaning up its act if not its air.

    Bush's Justice system is no worse than China's in choosing which laws it will follow, which laws it will enforce. The day you see DNA evidence release some millionaire from decades in prison for a crime he did not commit drop me a line. I want to know about that.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  66. Ron

    Its our greed for the cheap Ipod, iphone etc has lead pollution of this scale in China, Can you guys stop splurging on the goods that come from China, i guess not, then i guess we are not eligible to talk about the country that gives us stuff we need for cheap and ohh yeah we still owe them money.
    LA, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and many more cities too have the smog issue, its just that we cannot judge a country by a picture.
    As far as the gas demand going down Mr Larry from TX its not China, the oil speculation party ended making a few guys rich because the Saudis will start pumping more oil from the 30th of this month.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  67. Jerry--- Roselle, Illinois

    I really wanted to go to the Olympic games in Beijing but I just
    looked up the price of an airline ticket and its over $ 3000., so I'll
    just watch it on TV with my stimulus check in hand and the fan
    on low.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  68. Sandra fromTexas

    Maybe not. Just maybe this will put environmental issues more on display than anything else.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  69. Kerry Diehl

    Let's ask this question again AFTER it is all over and everyone, including China, has had an opportunity to reflect on the event as a whole.

    Perhaps the embarrassment of smoggy days, how world opinion perceives China after being there for the Olympics will lead to more positive changes on China's behalf.

    World opinion for a country deeply entrenched in global economics and trade is a vital concern.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  70. Nancy, Tennessee

    Do you think with all the problems in China and things keep happening that someone is trying to tell us something? China worked hard to get the algae out of the water, now the air is messed up. It's a little late to decide China should not have been awarded the Olympics.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  71. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    It absolutely was a mistake to award the olympics to china. The government has been deporting foreigners,banishing it's poor citizens to the hinterlands,censoring the news reports the world receives,restricting where visitors will be allowed to go and is going to poison athletes with dirty air. I,for one,will boycott anything and everything related to the Olympics.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  72. Colleen Brooks, Weddington, North Carolina

    Absolutely- Free Tibet!

    July 28, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  73. Kevin

    Jack, it has been a fiasco since the torch runs. This will be a good wake up call for China and the Olympic commitee. This decision was based on nothing but greed, the atheletes health was never even considered. The atheletes strenuous activity will cause a much higher degree of inhaled toxins, I'll bet the ambulance chasing lawyers are chomping at the bit.

    Warren, MI

    July 28, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  74. Linda Richards

    Since the US hasn't taken the high-road in terms of pollution (not signing Kyoto), civil rights (surveillance program) or treatment of suspected terrorists (Gitmo, torture bill); how do we then claim moral outrage when it seems these things are being ignored elsewhere? It's as ironic as Laura Bush recently complaining about world leaders responding too slowly to a recent disaster knowing full well that some victims of Katrina are still waiting for assistance years later. We really are arrogant son's of B's. Linda in Woodbury, NJ

    July 28, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  75. PAT California

    Too late to think about that now! I hope the OLympic Committee will take things like safety, healthy atmosphere, etc. in their next selection.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  76. Ronald Holst

    Jack Is it a mistake to Let china Host The Olympics
    If Coarse Not the American Oxegen Company's are going to make a killing . .

    July 28, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  77. CarrieinSterling,VA

    It was a huge mistake to give China the Oympic Games. The are still a communist government with absolute power of citizens even if they have embraced capitalist economic policy.Not only are they atrocious on human rights, the environment and violate Trade Agreements(we're suing them right now) they are also displacing thousands of people to build structures for the Olympic games.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  78. Carol, Coulterville, CA

    Yes, it was a mistake, but it does put them in the limelight, so just maybe they will start to change for the better. What I don't understand about China is why they don't learn from our mistakes and go green right from the start of their industrial development.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  79. Mickey in Texas

    Jack I definately think it was a mistake to hold the Olympics in China. Even if the teams do well it is safe to say they may not be able to attend another Olympic game as a result of this severe air pollution. I am sure many in attendance will develope severe breathing difficulties or upper respiratory infections. What was the Olympic Commitee thinking? It's obvious they were not in China when they made this decision.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  80. Ray Kinserlow

    As someone who has had lung disease, you will not catch me at Beijing for the Olympics. I feel for the athletes.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    July 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  81. Derick, Greenlawn NY

    Jack, the way things are looking it might as well be in Tehran, or some other city on the Iraq-Pakistan border.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  82. greg lancaster, tx

    China is a brutal dehumanizing nation. I think their human rights record is as bad as any in modern memory. They have no respect for any copyright or license and send an army of their citizens throughout the globe to steal more technology.

    In its worse days the Soviet Union was never this evil an empire.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  83. Mike Nunn - Hot Springs, Ar.

    I am all in favor of having the Games in China and wwe should give them all the support we can. We should make Bush permanent Ambassador to China and not let him come home. Perhaps they could hire him as a financial consultant. That would end any threat they might pose.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  84. Sam, Las vegas

    I think the "other things" are perhaps the more important. We can cut through the smog, it wasn't that clean in Mexico City. But, the human rights violations that the Olympic Committee decided to push under the mat when it awarded the Olympic Games to China, cannot be so easily penetrated. You can put up with smog, LA has been doing it for years. We don't have to put up with ignoring the plight of other human beings.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  85. susanm

    abingdon, md

    everyone acts like this is new, should have thought this out yrs ago?

    July 28, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  86. Chicago

    And this is the country we expect to follow us into the green world?
    They have reached their industrial revolution... and it will continue for a hundred years.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  87. Linda from Southern Indiana

    Definitely a mistake to award the games to China. How can the athletes perform in such smog? Their lack of human rights to the people of China is enough that the Olympic Committe should have sent up the red flag!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  88. Jamal

    For the athlete's sake, yes. The pollution is terrible, and everyone knows that just isn't a healthy environment to compete in. However, the Olympics are not the place for the world to settle political disagreements. Let the athletes play.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  89. JIM

    HEY JAck

    Yes indeed

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  90. Hayden from Idaho

    In the short term yes, it was a mistake, obviously due to the poor air conditions that the athletes face. But I hope in the long run it helps to show that it's time to REALLY do something about pollution and the burning of fossil fuels.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  91. Doug

    And have you seen this insidious seaweed off Quindao, the sailing venue? YUCH! It looks more like a football field than a sailing course.
    They had to divert the entire regional fishing fleet for the past month to get it under control!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  92. John

    It was really smart of the olympic committe to award the olympic games to a polluted communist state. Were next Iran

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  93. Nathaniel

    Bejing is aplace where the economy and the revolution is changing so fast that theres no time to look at the possible consequences. bejing would be a good choice for the olympics after theyre done with their industrial revolution. whats so scary and what could happen is that some of the athletes could get sick from the air in bejing.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  94. shirley chase, winter harbor, maine

    Yes, just another mistake indicating the pervading brain death existing everywhere these days,

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  95. Sherry

    I think it was a huge mistake, Jack! Not only the air quality, but so many elderly, sick people thrown out of their homes and onto the street. Just to make room for the Olympics. And all the halted construction and plant closings causing so many to put on an unpaid vacation! How are they supposed to get by? It should have beeen boycotted! Treating your citizens like animals to bring the Olympics to China. Shameful!

    Coral Springs, FL

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  96. gcottier

    I would like to know how the Olympic Committee expects the athletes in the outdoor events (track and field) to perform to their highest level with the polution as bad as it is. I don't expect many new records, if any.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  97. Ken

    Jack China looks a lot like LA. I'm afraid the Games have been compromised by everything now including pollution. The problem is you cannot clean it up in a week or two. It mirrors out energy problems here at home. The Chinese government also mirrors our government too. They do not listen or act in time. All talk and action until the last minute only to find it is to late. No short term quick fix.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  98. Greg Mendenhall

    Eden Prairie, MN


    July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  99. Josh in MN

    Here's a clear look for us Americans at what the "evil" pollution regulations have done for the US. If the Republicans had their way with zero emissions regulations, every US city would look like downtown Beijing.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  100. Dr. Lee Badipour

    In response to the Olympics question.

    This situation did not occur overnight. So the answer is simple, why was such an event placed in such a polluted environment? Aren't these cities checked for such environmentally hazardous behavior?

    July 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  101. jc in WI

    Total mistake! Maybe this will teach the IOC and the rest of the world a good lesson. You cannot make unreal expectations on a country with unreal violations throughout this and the last century. Too bad too – when the games came to Salt Lake City they we quaffed in controversy but at least the air and water were clean. No one would die from drinkning out of the tap.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  102. Pat Allen

    Yes it was a mistake but this is not hindsight for me; I found it confusing that China would be awarded this honor to begin with. Had the media been paying close attention early on what the US would have been made aware of would be China's desperate preparations included throwing people out of their housing without backup options in order to clear acres for this event. Is the world not responsible for these people given that the world is supporting the Beijing location?

    July 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  103. Louise L.Gallone

    Jack, the first mistake was sending ALL of our manufacturing plants there. These are the real pollution culprits!

    Louise IN

    July 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  104. Bob W

    If the whole issue here is the pollution, then the IOC should have done more investigation into awarding the games to China.The cause of most of the pollution is the 2 and 4 cycle engines from the scooters constantly emitting fumes. Studies have shown that one hour of running these engines is worse than running your average SUV for 8 hours. There are new muffler/catalytic converters now available for these engines. I know Ahnold in Kalifornia is aware of this issue. Other big hitters here are the leaf blowers, weed wackers etc. Ahnold is on top of it, but China is way way behind. It will only get worse before it gets better.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  105. Adam


    If we have to ask this question about China, we already know the answer. China's disgusting air "quality" is as disgusting as our energy policy: neither of us have one. What The U.S. and China does have, however, is a relationship: Addict and enabler.

    Adam, Dallas

    July 28, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  106. Ron Johnsrud

    Hindsight is always 20/20. In this case forsight shoud have been as easy. I would like to know the sales pitch China used. It worked even better than the pitch the Bush administration has given us for seven years,

    High Springs, Fl

    July 28, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  107. Ali Khan, Elgin, IL

    I don't think China should have been awarded to host the Olympics. But that would mean that I'm against the Olymics in the United Kingdom too. Every country has its problems, some more than others.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  108. Jeff

    Granting the 2008 Olympics to Beijing will probably hurt the Olympics, but I think it will help the city of Beijing deal with their pollution problems. The Olympics is a huge source of income for the city that hosts it. Beijing has lots of motivation to undertake an immediate effort to cut down on pollution. On the other hand, many atheletes are refusing to compete in Beijing for multiple reasons. How can we truly have a competition for the world's greatest atheletes when many of them won't show up?

    July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  109. Johnny A

    It was the wrong decision Jack, but like most poor decisions it was about money! China is Americas bank, as well as many other western powers, and China called in "the favor". This is just the same old same old and who suffers? The very people that the Olympics should be about...the atheletes!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  110. Bill, Madison, WI

    Something in the air tells me this was a bad idea to award the Olympics to China.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  111. Brian

    I believe it was a mistake to award the Olympics games not to the Chinese people, but to the Chinese government. Ever since they were awarded the games, they did not keep any of their promises. Human rights, religious rights, civil rights, environmental issues and the list goes on and on. Olympics is an event to celebrate national diversity and the human spirit. Instead, the Chinese government is abusing it to say it belongs in the international stage.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  112. Gerry from Fort Worth

    Personally I think it was a huge mistake awarding the Olympic Games to China, but what if your credit card banker together with the mortgage-holder on your home asked you for a favor? Well that's what US's debtholder did. Chalk this one up to living beyond our means for way too long.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  113. Tom Rowland

    i think its good that they got the olympics because if thats how low the standards are, Chicago might just have a shot at 2016

    Naperville, Illinois

    July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  114. Seth

    Well, looking back, it's easy to say that the IOC made a mistake. But that was 7 years ago, and today the IOC is much less corrupt and more socially concious. Yeah, it may be pretty polluted, but I'm still going to the games, and I'm still going to have a great time, as will everyone else there. Lets hope I don't forget to pack my mask!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  115. Dan Wilson

    This is crazy we need to just bring are kids home. I know this would break there heart but with all the issues going on they need to get them out of there. If a terror attack would happen also the world would blame us granted!!


    July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  116. salim

    Hi Jack,

    Yes, it was a mistake awarding the olympics to China. China is developing at a rapid speed. Why did'nt they built a Dome for the track and field games? China has taken over the world by its products. Why did they not spend some money on the Olympics? I am sure it is going to benefit from the Olympics. And the Chinese athletes will win most of the Medals, because they are used to that condition. The athletes from other parts of the world will pay the price.

    thank you,

    July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  117. Cory

    C'mon Jack! What kind of question is that? That would be like asking if the 1980 olympics should have taken place on three mile island after the meltdown.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  118. Marek and Ryan

    Um...Yes, Jack. Why should a country with horrible pollution, human rights issues, and forcing a peaceful people against their will be awarded the honor of hosting the Olympics? Oh and by the way, China: FREE TIBET!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  119. Cara

    Well, Jack, it seems that the "mistake" of awarding the Olympics to China may actually be a blessing, the same way that high gas prices might have a silver lining. In both cases, the U.S. is waking up to the reality of the situation. We have looked the other way for years while China has violated human rights, contributed tons of pollutants, and even shipped harmful products to our country. Are we really surprised now that we're seeing the underbelly of this Communist country? Let's hope that the Olympics get us talking about what really matters in our relations with China, just like high gas prices are finally forcing us to get real in our stance on alternative energy.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  120. Louis

    The Olympics are about international cooperation with a goal to recognize and celebrate openess of cultures, no matter where it takes place. Just too bad they are taking place in a country with repressive rule and polution that will most likely threaten athletes' health.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  121. Betsy Crawford

    BUT...didn't someone think about this before the decision was made to hold the Olympics in Beijing? Unbelievable!!! Surely this isn't a sudden situation!!!! NO..I DO NOT THINK BEIJING SHOULD HAVE BEEN CHOSEN FOR THE OLYMPICS THIS YEAR! It's insanity to expose all the young healthy athletes to air like this! What a total fiasco!!!!!!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  122. me46

    How can one fault the student for practicing the lessons taught?
    Razicudlo (Las Vegas)

    July 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  123. Jill Babore

    Yes, it was a huge mistake. China has in the past imprisoned those that speak out against the health hazards regarding air and water pollution. Perhaps they should free those they have imprisoned and listen carefully to what they have to say. China has no regard for human rights and the Olympics should have been elsewhere. To show my disapproval, I shall refrain from watching!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  124. Mary Gydesen

    YES it was a mistake! I never understood why China was awarded the games in the first place. I wish someone could explain the reasoning behind that decision since it wasn't any different in China when the decision was made. Perhaps they thought China would fix things and make it all better. IDIOTS!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  125. Christopher, Canada

    I think the human rights issue in China would have been enough to make the Olympic committee pull out, but throw in just the Tibet issue and you will have the worst terrorized games in Olympic history. Oh, and you can't forget the pollution, communism, and lies that China has created. China was a bad choice for the Olympic games, we may as well have chosen a war zone.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  126. Marilyn Irwin

    Dear Jack,
    Thank you for your report. It was well-written.
    Yes, it is a mistake in light of the air pollution to award the Olympics to China.
    In fact, there is a worse mistake– our complicity in that air and water pollution by allowing into the U. S. the many, many products make in China. It is getting harder and harder for consumers to find products to buy, that are not made in China.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  127. Ray

    China's air horrible pollution is a symptom. The 2008 Olympics should have been awarded to a country that has better human rights and environmental records (and present policies) than China.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  128. Zoe Goetz

    No, China was politically not ready for the Olympics. The Olympic Committee was split when the vote was taken and the head of the Committe publically stated at least since January that it was a mistake.

    Zoe Goetz

    July 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  129. Arpit Dave

    Yes. But not only for pollution, Jack. Human rights violations, censorship and corruption are but a few more of the reasons the Olympics should not have been held in Beijing.

    To give the Olympics to China is to suggest that they subscribe to the same principles of equality, fairness, justice and the Olympic spirit that makes other countries proud to host the Games – not just for the money.

    Arpit Dave
    Houston, TX

    July 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  130. Keith San Francisco

    Most of the Chinese air polution you show reaches North America every day via the prevailing winds.

    We need to boycott all "made in China" products. It is the olny way to stop this polution.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  131. Deena

    I agree... D'OH.... D'OH AND ANOTHER D'OH

    July 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  132. Jason - Chandler, Arizona


    Is that San Francisco on a foggy day? Eerie looking..

    July 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  133. arthur leichner

    Hi Lou,
    Wow, no human rights, no free trade. And they will own us.with our deficit. What is wrong with this picture? Yet our President says no problem and will go and indorse the Chinese government.. Wow Lou
    !are we in trouble!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  134. Victoria from Texas

    Jack, I have been astounded from the beginning why anyone would think it was a good idea to have the Oympic games held in a country that has so little regard for humanity, their own citizens, and the citizens of the world. After all, this is Communist China, and as usual the idiots of this world are making decisions that just prove one thing...the average IQ of the so-called leaders of this world is at an all-time low. Scary for us..scary for our children..what have we done allowing such people to control everything.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  135. Fluffy in Lovelock, NV

    I'm with John McCain on this one...we should have awarded the Olympics to Chekoslovakia.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  136. Brandon, Frankfort Kentucky

    Knowing what we know now it appears that it was a mistake to award the games to China, however the games must go on and we must not forget the real reason for the olympics and that is the athletes. Politics of any sort should not enter the games. In the ancient olympics all wars ceased for the length of the games and all attention was given to the athletes. This is what the olympic movement is all about the stellar athletes who will triumph and overcome adversity to reach their goal of making it to the olympics.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  137. Deena

    China is SO not ready for such event... It was not a rational decision to give them such BIG responsibility...

    July 28, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  138. SD Svarstad

    perfet place bring forth all the laundry of life in china , furthermore, tie life in china to usa economy.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  139. Ricky T. from Roseville, MI

    If you want to talk about human rights violations in the Olympic Games, another question to ask is "Was it a mistake to award the Olympic Games to Berlin in 1936 (an Olympic Games that propelled Jesse Owens into international success)?" Don't put politics into spirited competition. Yes, we must recognize that Beijing is a human rights nightmare, but if we put politics into the games, you can forget about 1936 Berlin or in 1984 Los Angeles during the Cold War.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  140. Judy Browning

    Of course it shouldn’t been given to China.

    We were too eager to please the third world and try to prove how cosmopolitan we are.

    The health and safety of the athletes should always be the first consideration. We should never go to a third world country that can’t protect and honor their own people. Pollution does not happen overnight. This is not something new to China. This should have been a consideration when choosing the Olympic site years ago.

    Hong Kong would have been a better choice if we just had to go to China. It has been a class act city for many years.

    The Olympics should be a joy and a safe cultural event; not a political statement.

    Judy Browning
    Hopkinsville, KY

    July 28, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  141. glenn maynard

    i havent read all the comments but its not like the polution in china didnt get this way overnight. shouldnt the olympic committee considered this a long time ago before awarding the olympics to china . I saw the pictures and i wouldnt let my children outside. I feel sorry for all the athletes. They ought to move as many events inside as possible. Maybe they could run the marathon inside. I really feel sorry for them.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  142. Adam


    To respond to a comment by Bob W. regarding China and 2-cycle engines and SUV's, is he actually trying to say that running a 2-cycle engine for an hour is worse than an SUV for 8 hours??? I believe someone may be in a little denial.


    July 28, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  143. rebecca

    China is a disgrace our entire team should boycott the games. They obviously are doing nothing about pollution. Why would they they ship up lead based toys to poison our children, bad pet food, bad perscription medications.... . WHAT A GUTTER NATION CHINA HAS BECOME. And now they are going to out right discriminate agaist our Black Atletes and prevent them from access to bars and other 'public accommodations' Last time I cheched China has enjoyed UN status. It is time they start thinking like a nation of HUMANS who have some civility.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  144. Raymond Sjodin

    Dear Jack:

    Yes , it was a mistake. No one wants to die of respiratory failure watching the Olympics. To answer Jack's other question about
    how are people going to get around after taking millions of cars off the roads in Beijing; The answer is Bicycles. We were in Beijing 12 years ago and almost everyone was on a bicycle and maybe there were 3000 cars. Everyone got along just fine and the air was wonderful.

    Ray ( in Baltimore)

    July 28, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  145. Jerry - Green Bay, WI

    It probably was a mistake, but with the games less than 2 weeks away what can be done now? Picture javelins disappearing in the smog, the TV cameras not being able to see the opposite side of the track. Can't wait to see the smog in high definition. I am concerned about our athletes, especially the marathon runners but I'm ore concerned about the paralympians who have to compete after China stops appearing to care about air quality. Five years from now Dr. Sanjay Gupta will have a special about 'Beijing Olympic Syndrome.' Setting my DVR now.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  146. Donovan Manhue

    It has always being a known fact that the air pollution in Beijing has consistently and attrociouly exceeded acceptable standars. So, yes it was a mistake. It is so blatantly clear (no pun intended) that the members of the IOC chose politics over the health and well being of the competing Athletes.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  147. Jeff Rudisill

    Absolutely NOT a mistake to award the Olympics to China. Now, athletes and countries should boycott the Olympics for health reasons. What better way to show the economic costs associated with pollution?

    July 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  148. BARBIE, WA

    Yes, it was a big mistake! DUH!

    July 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  149. Allan Von


    I think it was huge mistake. I guess that with all the ignorant decisions being made in the world today, the Olympic Committee felt left out.

    Allan Von
    Dallas Tx

    July 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  150. Robert Wendel

    Of course it's a mistake, but hopefully it will prove once-and-for all that the Olympics are totally about money and politics and have been ever since Hitler and the 1932 games. The athletes have long since gotten lost in the shuffle. It's time to put an end to this vapid and bigoted spectacle. I wish the 2008 Olympics are the last ones ever held.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  151. Ben Wisdom

    I think both yes and know to your question. Yes, it was a mistake to award China the Olympic games because China has demonstrated that it has no respect for human rights, democracy, the environment, freedom of speech, or any other value considered essential to be the sign of peace and unity that the Olympics should embody. And, No, it wasn't a mistake to award them because perhaps now the world will see first hand the growing, unchecked, political, economic,and peace threat Communist China is to freedom for the entire world.

    Ben Wisdom
    New Orleans

    July 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  152. trackstar

    Well...I will definitely say that this year's Olympics will be VERY interesting!! I think that it is absolutely ludacris to send ATHLETES to compete at a location with such a terrible air quality. It is disaster upon disaster waiting to happen. I think that the next thing that we need to look into, are the hospitals that will take care of our athletes.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  153. Steve Layman

    This seems like a no brainer.The olympics in China have been nothing short of controversial; Human rights abuses still going on Chinese citizens moved out of their homes to make room for the Olympic City now with no place to live, and pollution problems, is there no regard for the athletes? I for one will not be watching the Olympic games out of protest for human rights and the failure of the Olympic committee to take action against China.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  154. Craig

    There is absolutely nothing about the Olympics in China that I approve of. Not only should we not send our athletes but we should not be sending our technology to the last remaining totalitarian world power. Actually air pollution is the least of our worries when it comes to China. What I want to know is why we have allowed ourselves to miss read this threat to our democracy. Talk about a need for Home Land Security and a need for an elevated threat analysis.


    July 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  155. Kent, Illinois

    There may not have been a choice. How many countries besides the US look to China as their loan shark? Can you say World Bank?

    July 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  156. Jeff Rudisill

    Sierra Madre, CA

    Absolutely NOT a mistake to award the Olympics to China. Now, athletes and countries should boycott the Olympics for health reasons. What better way to show the economic costs associated with pollution?

    July 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  157. alex santiago, brooklyn , ny

    beijiing olimpics
    jack, the olimpics should've had been awarded to ny city in light of being the last year for yankee's stadium and to show the world the strength of the people of ny.
    alex santiago
    brooklyn, ny

    July 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  158. Fred G Thorne

    I agree...but, yes and no, for the law of unintended consequences rears its back.

    Yes: in light of the air pollution problems unable to be overcome, it was a huge mistake, and will be a major insult on the respiratory systems of all athletes in the Olympics.

    No; in light of the air pollution problems unable to be overcome, it is a splendid lesson being exposed and taught worldwide regarding the devastating, negative effects of our use and misuse of natural resources, and is a dynamic warning of much worse to come if we don't mend our ways and change our habits.

    Fred G. Thorne

    July 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  159. gregory

    Jack, this would be a grave mistake. There are tons of other cleaner cities that had been willing to host the olympics. All this decision will do is cause the pollution to smog up peoples faces and lungs.

    Skokie, IL

    July 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  160. Pete

    Yes, China still cracks down on anything the leaders don't like, like free speech and free elections. They copy anything illegal that they get their hands on and the government does not do anything. And what finally comes out and is legal are inferior products on the shelfs at Walmart and others.
    I am glad the world can finally see the pollution but awarding the games to China was an Olympic joke.
    Pete, Tulsa OK

    July 28, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  161. Bill Dempster

    No, Jack, it wasn't a mistake to award the games to China. This is a rare opportunity for the world to realize how we are destroying our planet with fossil fuel driven pollution and global warming. Hopefully the shock of seeing it during the Olympic Games will wake us up to the reality of the situation enough to spur real action to switch to renewable energy worldwide and very fast.
    Santa Fe, NM

    July 28, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  162. Jay, Canada

    Jack, it was a mistake to consider China as a host in the first place. In the second and final round of voting for the host city, the cities, in order, were Beijing #1, Toronto #2, Paris #3, and Istanbul #4...And Beijing won? It is not like the disgusting pollution and human rights abuses started just a few months ago. It was all about money, and choices made when it is all about money are usually bad ones. Maybe if so many countries were not so far up to their butts in debt to China, we might feel less pressured to suck up to them. Toronto sure looks good now, eh?

    July 28, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  163. Lee

    Anyone remember the finalists other than Beijing?

    Everyone could have been headed to Toronto, Ontario in a couple of weeks.

    Oh well, the powers that be make these decisions behind their closed doors. We'll welcome the world to Vancouver in 2010.

    Belleville, Ontario

    July 28, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  164. Michele, Oregon

    Maybe not, but China is an ancient beautiful country despite its problems with pollution and lack of human rights. The good thing is that China, traditionally closed off to western society, is and will be under a global microscope and this presents opportunities, not just to chastise them, but to engage them as well.

    Not naive to expect anything monumental, but like the seeds sown in Silent Spring years ago on the ecology, maybe seeds will be sown and greater accountability felt. I DO empathize with the athletes competing in the smog, but China's conditions will be underscored on the world stage, especially if we watch athletes compete in pollution masks.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  165. Vivian Bergenthal

    Your question about the decision to let China host the Olympics should have been a no-brainer from day ONE! Now the whole world can see the results of unfettered economic growth without adequate attention to resulting pollution. There are repercusssions for all our actions. And we are all accountable.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  166. eddie

    China was undeserving of the honor of hosting the Olympics. The only positive I see is that because of the Games, more attention is being brought to the Chinese government's abysmal policies concerning human rights and the environment.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  167. Rob, Arvada, CO

    It's not so much that that they were awarded to China, but that China elected Beijing to be the host city. I think either Shanghai or Hong Kong should have been chosen as they have less air pollution.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  168. Joe in West Lafayette, IN

    Fluffy.... We would have to travel 15 years in to the past to find a nation called "Czechoslovakia"... The country split in 1993 in to two separate nations...the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    Whether it was wrong or right to award the Olympic games to China, it has certainly focused the media on the deplorable air quality and political environment in China. Maybe it will embarrass China into the 20th or 21st century.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  169. Jim Blackburn

    Mistake? What a small word for such a situation! Can not wait to see great athletes pass out and gasp for air. I would bet the only records that will be broke would be for worst performances. No different than playing Russian Roulette with their bodies.

    July 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm |