Angie: The Sports Authority

Welcome to Angie's sports blog! My interesting and funny articles will show you the most recent and interesting news in the sports world.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Olympics: Seaweed might interrupt sailing venue

Amazing news: while the Chinese have promised to host a green Olympic Games in August, the thick carpet-like layer of seaweed bloom was not what officials had in mind. The spinach-sized clumps of algae have made it impossible for even rowing boats to cross the bay, which sits on the Western edge of the very polluted Yellow Sea.

"It's a climatic disaster and we can only hope the heavens will be kind to us in August,'' claims Wang Haitao, the city's Olympics spokesman.

"We can only haul the blue-green algae manually and we're doing all we can with our arms full and by the boat-load. All you can see is fishing boats along the coast.''

The city has mobilised more than 1,000 fishing boats to scoop up the algae and contain the outbreak. But the root cause cannot be banished. Warmer waters, increased rainfall and high levels of nutrients in the ocean brought about the algae explosion along vast stretches of the 500-mile coastline, according to the Qingdao Weather Bureau.

Qingdao is a renowned north China resort that produces the country's most famous beer, a legacy of its time as a German trading concession. More than 400 sailors from 60 countries are expected to compete there in the Olympic sailing competition.

It is not the first time its viability as an Olympic racing venue has been called into question. Last August a regatta at the £250 million marina built for the competition was marred by a lack of wind. Competitors drifted in a windless Yellow Sea and race planners said Olympic racers would have to reassess standard tactics.

Zang Aimin, a top Chinese Olympic yachting official, expressed that the Olympic competition schedule would have to be altered to feature more races in the late afternoon, when the wind picks up.

China, which has a horrendous ecological protection record, has promised a "Green Olympics" that will be sensitive to environmental concerns.

Beijing officials are shutting factories and taking cars off the road in a bid to reduce pollution in time for the Aug. 8 opening ceremony.

In fact, the International Olympic Committee has said it will reschedule events if smog threatens athletes' health.

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