Algae in Qingdao threatens sailing medal hopes
Several months ago, it was the amount of air pollution that gave the opportunity for Haile Gebresellassie to threaten to withdraw from the games. This time, it's not the politics that makes an appearance, but the strange abundance of seaweed off the coast of Qingdao. The size of football fields, the carpets of algae may threaten some countries hopes at a medal.
Britain's medal hopes at the Beijing Olympics may have taken a dent thanks to huge blooms of seaweed at the venue for sailing events.
The green algae, covering areas of sea larger than football pitches, is set to make conditions unpredictable in August's Olympic regattas, held off the coast of Qingdao.
Now local fishermen have been ordered to help clear the carpets of seaweed which sailing experts believe would have to be treated as an obstruction during races and would put some crews at a disadvantage.
The seaweed is making life hard for those training for the Games, wrapping around keels and stopping boats from getting up to speed.
Britain relies heavily on sailing for Olympic medals and the British Olympic Association's stated target of eight in the medal table would be under threat if sailing events were disrupted.
But since algae is really quite good for the eco system - it really would be a shame to clear it all out.