Last week, Haile Gebrselassie attempted to break his own world-record marathon time at the Dubai Marathon. He fell short by 27 seconds, but there can be little doubt that a man who now owns both of the two fastest marathon times in history is one of if not the best marathoner in the world right now. Add in his 25 other world records and you know that the man must be something special.

Unfortunately, there is a very real possibility that Gebrselassie is not going to compete in the 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing. The city has done a sub-par job of cleaning up its levels of pollution over the past couple of years, and there are already some fears that events will have to be rescheduled this Summer due to the ever-present smog.

Gebrselassie had a little trouble dealing with the pollution in London last year and had to drop out of the race.

“When I come to Beijing, things could happen…it could be worse and that’s why I am a little bit worried,” he told Reuters Television in an interview. “If things are like that (still heavily polluted) I would try to run a different distance, instead of the marathon.”

I realize that he can be just as competitive in shorter distances, but I would love to see him compete in the Olympic Marathon and I hope that he decides to run. Since I have doubted for the past couple of years that China would be able to clean up the pollution in Beijing, though, I highly doubt that he will subject himself to it.

(Source: Guardian Unlimited Sport)