BEIJING, China - Statement from U.S. Olympic Team athletes Michael Friedman, Sarah Hammer, Bobby Lea and Jennie Reed regarding their decision to wear protective masks during Tuesday's arrival at Beijing's Capital International Airport:
"Following our arrival on Tuesday, we offer our sincere apologies to BOCOG, the city of Beijing, and the people of China if our actions were in any way offensive. That was not our intent.
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. We deeply regret the nature of our choices. Our decision was not intended to insult BOCOG or countless others who have put forth a tremendous amount of effort to improve the air quality in Beijing.
We are extremely honored to be a part of the U.S. Olympic Team and feel privileged to represent the United States abroad both on and off the field of play. We look forward to putting this incident behind us while we prepare for our competition next week."