1) I've never been to China.
2) I have read that the air pollution is horrific.
3) I have seen enough travel shows of Beijing and Hong Kong and any major city around China to literally SEE the air pollution haze above the city.
So what's so wrong with highly-trained, tip-top shape athletes wearing masks to filter the air pollution?
U.S. cyclists apologize for wearing masks at upon arrival in Beijing
BEIJING (AP) -- A group of American cyclists are apologizing to Beijing Olympic organizers after arriving in China's capital wearing face masks.
Jim Scherr, the U.S. Olympic Committee's chief executive officer says the athletes regret their actions and have written an apology to BOCOG on their own behalf."
Full Story: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/olympics/2008/08/06/cyclists.masks.ap/index.html?cnn=yes