I personally don’t see why the cyclists felt the need to apologize if they were only concerned for their health as they claim. China freely admits the air quality in Beijing is poor at the best of times so what’s with the over the top political correctness? The residents of Beijing wear masks all the time and the Chinese government has done surprisingly (if a little late in their plans) for helping mitigate the city’s pollution problem. This sounds too much like the sycophants to BOCOG, USOC, or the IOC stirring up trouble where there should be none in attempt to make the games and China look “perfect”, an unattainable goal given events. Seems a bit hypocritical to have your own population wearing masks to protect themselves from the pollution (among other things) but somehow it’s disrespectful if a foreign visitor does the same.
What are they going to do if that group of British runners show up at the track with oxygen masks as some of them claim they will do?