IOC president warns Beijing Olympic events could be postponed

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The Olympic Stadium in Beijing - Jason Lee/ReutersAir pollution in Beijing could cause some Olympic events to be postponed if the matter is not resolved in a year’s time warned Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee.

Speaking yesterday at events marking the one year countdown till the Beijing Games kick off, Rogge specifically warned that high endurance events such as marathons and cycling, which take place over several hours could be at risk.

“It would not be necessary for all sports, sports with short durations would not be a problem,” Rogge told CNN yesterday in coverage that was blacked out on mainland. “But definitely the endurance sports like the cycling race, where you have to compete for six hours, these are examples of competitions that might be postponed or delayed to another day.”

Rogge’s comments have been echoed by other IOC officials in Beijing to assess the progress of the games’ infrastructure with just a year to go before they commence. “The air pollution is an acute problem” said British Olympic Association Chief Executive Simon Clegg.

The Games are now starting to attract growing concern over health issues and air quality, with a trial plan on banning 30 percent (about one million) of all vehicles from Beijing by suspending licenses in an attempt to clean up the atmosphere set to commence next week.