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September 24, 1982

Air Pollution and Athletic Performance

JAMA. 1982;248(12):1511. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330120065038

According to the old fairy tale, the mice had just solved the problem of telling when the cat was coming. They would tie a bell on its neck and would hear the bell when the cat approached. The only problem was that none of the mice could figure out a way to attach the bell.

The same thing applies to control of air pollution at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In the first few pages, we learn that air pollution in the Los Angeles area is caused by the action of stagnant air and sunshine on automobile exhaust fumes to form ozone, peroxyacetyl nitrate, photochemical aerosols, and other pollutants. The obvious cure is to ban the automobile. However, with no effective subway system, the problem is how to do it. Instead, the book recommends that, on polluted days, certain events be delayed.

The book indicates that vitamins C