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Monday, March 10, 2008

Champion Pulls Out of Olympic Race Due to Pollution

Amidst growing worry over Beijing's air quality, Haile Gebrselassie pulls out of the marathon citing concern for his asthma
Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie has announced that he will not race in the marathon at this year’s Beijing Olympics due to the potential pollution. Gebrselassie, the world record holder in the event, says he suffers from exercise-induced asthma, and that the risk to his health would be too great for him to run that race, though he does plan to compete in the shorter 10,000 meter event.
China has announced numerous plans to clean the air prior to the Games—the country has said it will limit traffic in the city, shut down factories and even attempt to modify the weather with technology. But as we’ve written before, these local measures might not suffice, as some scientists have found that much of Beijing’s pollution often comes from far-off sources. Gebrselassie isn’t the only athlete to protest. Other runners have expressed concern about the foul air, and officials have suggested that these longer races may be delayed by a few hours or longer in the case of intense smog.

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So What If He Cried?

Brett Favre grew on me a few years ago. At first, I wasn’t a fan of his work or the Green Bay Backers since I am a follower of California NFL teams, particularly the San Francisco 49ers. After a while, the rivalry faded as the Niners became less of a threat following the salary cap debacle and disappointing performances year after year. I didn’t really give Favre much though until he started breaking some impressive records.

The one thing I have always admired is his work ethic. For example, here was a guy that had an extra helping of family tragedy in a short amount of time but remained a professional. He lost his father, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, his brother-in-law was killed on his property, and his family home was destroyed in the 2005 hurricane season. If I’m not mistaken, his mother had a brief hospitalization somewhere in there also.

In spite of any tragedy he was experiencing, he never missed a game. In fact, I don’t remember ever hearing him complain about anything. Come to think of it, I can’t recall complaints of any sort in his career. No prima donna contract disputes, no bad-mouthing of teammates…nothing. I could be missing something since I am not anywhere near Green Bay so correct me if you know of any such whining…

Earlier this week when Favre announced his retirement he became quite emotional at the press conference. I was listening to ESPN radio and one of the guys was tearing Favre a new one for shedding tears. In true “good cop, bad cop” fashion, the other was supporting Favre’s honesty. Some of the commentary did seem a bit forced though - like they were just trying to get listeners to phone in and create buzz. Now, the Internet is full of blogs with fans freaking out about the fact that Favre cried.

Big deal! Seriously! Does this somehow upset people because it means he is actually human? I would like someone to explain to me why the big story around this incredible athlete’s career is the fact he had an emotional press conference. Oh, and don’t leave me some condescending comment that I don’t think it was a big deal because I’m female. Spare me the baloney please, I'm personally not a crier (not that it matters) and I’ve conferred with several male sports fans on this. I can’t find one that thinks Favre’s image is somehow tarnished now. Some of these guys have played pro sports themselves and would be considered quite “manly”. Please give me an intelligent argument as to why Favre's behavior is problematic.

I would think that more relevant stories would be to discuss the "big shoes" that Aaron Rodgers has to fill. How about covering what Mike McCarthy plans to do to keep the team moving ahead without their inspirational leader?

So what is really behind the problem with Brett’s show of emotion? Do tell!

Original here