2008_08_badair.jpgYesterday, the U.S. Olympic cycling team arrived at Beijing's airport and their masked visages caused a frenzy. The cyclists wore the U.S. Olympic Committee-designed and issued masks to protect them from Beijing's polluted air. One team member told the NY Times, “They told us that the Chinese were mad and that this is a politically charged issue, but we didn’t mean to offend anybody. When [the USOC] handed us these masks, they never said, ‘Here they are, but don’t wear them.’" Now the team has apologized, saying, "The wearing of protective masks upon our arrival into Beijing was strictly a precautionary measure we as athletes chose to take, and was in no way meant to serve as an environmental or political statement."