Today, On the Ball brings you Olympics, Olympics, Olympics! And, if you read far enough, a reflection on undergarments.

Beijing traffic

Beijing photo: vizzo via Flickr

As we are now officially more than halfway through 2007, Beijing is getting all geared up for its Olympic games, to be held Aug. 8-24, 2008. On Wednesday, there were numerous reports of the city’s upcoming plan to test how removing cars from the road affects air quality. Specifically, for two weeks next month, 1 million cars will be taken off the road in Beijing. From what I can tell, the ban will be enforced on government cars, while private citizens will be encouraged to bike or take public transit. A similar ban on thousands of vehicles was instituted last November, and was by all accounts a success, with much better traffic flow, breathability, and blue skies.

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Not that we’d want that every day, or anything. But, to be fair, the International Olympic Committee has given Beijing props for its progress.

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In other Olympic news, Sochi, Russia, was just awarded the 2014 Games. The resort town had already taken some eco-iffy steps to give some oomph to its bid, while greens reacted with trepidation to the news of its win. Sochi will have to build nearly all of its sports complexes from scratch, and the mountain competitions will be held in the buffer zone of a pristine World Heritage site. Greenpeace and WWF plan to raise a ruckus (but really, when do they not?).

Also, to my throngs of London readers: The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 is looking for environmental advisers for the city’s upcoming Olympic Games. Get those apps in by July 16!

And in non-Olympic news — I know, is that even allowed? — the Discovery Channel’s Tour de France team (sans Lance) is substituting green uniforms for their usual blue, a visual demonstration of their plan to plant trees to offset the emissions from their support vehicles.

The Tour de France starts tomorrow — in London. They’ll see London, they’ll see France … but, this being a bike race, they won’t be wearing underpants.

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