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Haze greets Australian athletes in Beijing -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Australian Olympic team will begin to arrive in the host city Beijing from today
and it will get a hazy welcome.

Hot, still conditions have not rid the city of thick air pollution and the poor atmospheric
conditions have prompted Olympic organisers to look at changing the times of outdoor endurance
events.

The heads of the Australian Olympic Committee arrived at the Olympic Village this morning and have
just held their first Beijing press conference. They said that if conditions deteriorate further
athletes will have the option of pulling out of their events.

Our Olympics reporter Karen Barlow was there and she joins us now. Karen how likely is it that
athletes will pull out of the games?

KAREN BARLOW: Very unlikely Eleanor but it is an option for them if they get here and they see and
feel it and they know that it won't be in their best interests for their health if they compete.

These athletes have been training most of their lives for this event, just to get here so it is
extremely unlikely that smog will put them off going for gold.

None of the athletes have forewarned the AOC that this is their plan but the AOC have stated today
that it is an option. They say very unlikely.

ELEANOR HALL: Just how bad is the air pollution there today?

KAREN BARLOW: Not good at all. The sun looks like a moon in the grey sky. I mean visibility is
between one or two kilometres. It is not very good.

I haven't been in Beijing for that long but it has steadily got worse while I've been here. It is
basically the extreme weather conditions. It is hot and still. There is nothing blowing the haze
away.

ELEANOR HALL: Did Australia's Olympic officials say they were surprised to find those conditions
there?

KAREN BARLOW: Not really. They have always known that air pollution is going to be a problem. They
say they've actually seen worse here. I mean obviously they have been here on numerous times to
check on the facilities for the athletes and it is not as bad as it can be but it is not good and
that is why they have stated that if athletes want to pull out they can, but it is unlikely.

ELEANOR HALL: The Chinese had guaranteed that the skies would be blue during the Games - perhaps a
rash guarantee - but is there any word from the host nation today on the pollution?

KAREN BARLOW: We haven't heard from them this morning however they have, yes, guaranteed numerous
times that it will be OK. It will be fine. They just need a bit of time.

Well, there is 11 days left to go before the Opening Ceremony. That can't be moved but they say the
system will work. We just have to wait for it to kick in and for a bit of wind to blow it all away.

The odd and even car system is working. We have seen the even numberplates today although I have
seen a couple of odd numberplates as well.

ELEANOR HALL: Karen Barlow in Beijing, thank you. That is Karen Barlow, our Olympics reporter.