Changing China

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A smoke-free Games? Not for all the athletes

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Smoking BeijingEarly to rise, early to bed, and lots of exercise in between: athletes are supposed to be models of clean living, right? But some Olympians have a more healthy lifestyle than others.

For Italian weightlifter Giorgio de Luca, for example, doping is out of the question but coffee, cigarettes, and the occasional drink are all fine.

“We’re aiming for a clean sport,” the 24-year-old from Palermo said, puffing a cigarette outside the Olympic gym in Beijing, watched by his coach.

Several coaches and weightlifters huddled around the ashtrays in front of the gym on Tuesday — a picture that is unlikely to please their Olympic hosts. Beijing has promised to do its utmost to ensure clean air for the Games, and that means smog-free and smoke-free.

Smoke gets in your eyes

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An elderly man smokes from a pipe at sidewalk in BeijingIn 2004, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promised that the Beijing Olympics would be “smoke-free”.

So far, though, there has been no word on the rules and regulations that will prevent the world’s most enthusiastic smokers from puffing away while watching the Games this August.

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