Changing China

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Why can’t we have the Summer Games in the autumn?

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The sun in BeijingBeijing weather was one of the biggest stories in the run-up to the Games, and rightly so judging by the struggles of the cyclists in the men’s road race on Saturday. More than a third of contestants dropped out of the race, including one of the favourites Stefan Schumacher, who complained of a “very, very strong headache” he blamed on the pollution.

It got me wondering — why are the Games being held in August, just about the muggiest and smoggiest time of the year in the Chinese capital? What is wrong with September, or April come to that? It would not only have been cooler, but skies in Beijing are clearer too.

And it is not just about China. Marathon runners struggled and staggered with the effects of heat and pollution in Los Angeles in 1984, and there have problems with heat and air quality in most of the Summer Olympics ever since.

Looking at the history books, holding the Summer Games in the Spring or the Autumn is not such a heretical thought.

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