Winter Olympics: What you need to know ahead of Beijing 2022 – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – Only a few weeks to go Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, the second Olympics to be held in the midst of the pandemic after last year Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Beijing will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics after its Olympic debut in 2008, and last month organizers said preparations were “very on track.” for the Olympics to go ahead as planned.

But it’s not that simple. As with last summer’s Olympics, a series of Covid-19 countermeasures were put in place before the Games, which will again take place in a Covid-safe “bubble” system.

As the Olympics finally kick off with the opening ceremony on February 4 – running until the closing ceremony on February 20 – nearly 3,000 athletes will compete in 15 disciplines across 109 events.

Beijing will also then host the Paralympic Games, which will take place from March 4-13.

How will the game be held amid the pandemic?

Organizers intend to host Beijing 2022 in a closed-loop system that will only be accessible to Game participants – a plan that has remained in place amid the rapid spread of the variant. Omicron.

As outlined in the Games playbook published in December, the closed-loop system will include the event’s official venues, hotels, and transportation.

Fully vaccinated participants will be able to enter the closed loop without quarantine, while those who are not vaccinated will have to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival in Beijing.

Medical waivers, considered on a case-by-case basis, may be granted to unvaccinated individuals. Some countries, such as the United States and Canada, required all team members to be vaccinated.

During the Olympics, participants will be monitored and checked daily and will not be exposed to the public.

“The loop is very safe. It’s a place that I would say is very difficult to compare with anywhere else in the world at this point, because we here have a fully vaccinated, regularly boosted population that is growing rapidly. are checked daily by PCR and live closed. “, Pierre Ducrey, Olympic Executive Director of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told reporters on January 12.

“It’s called a closed loop for that very reason,” Ducrey added. It means there will be no contact between people outside the loop and inside the loop. It was built to protect the inhabitants inside, and also the people outside.”

Returning a confirmed positive test will mean that the participants cannot compete or continue their role in the Olympics; Those with symptoms will stay in designated hospitals for treatment, while those without symptoms will be transferred to an isolation facility.

Last month, Huang Chun, a member of the local organizing committee, accepted that the Olympics could bring “Covid-19 cases or small clusters of infection” into China because “a large number of overseas staff will gather medium, posing a very high risk of transmission.”

During the course of the pandemic, the country made a zero-Covid policy mass testing, mass isolation, and rapid lockdown to eliminate any virus occurrence.

Tickets for the Olympics will not be sold to the public in response to the pandemic but will instead be distributed by the authorities, the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee announced on January 17.

“In the face of the fierce and complicated situation of epidemic prevention and control. [and] To protect the health and safety of Olympic staff and spectators, we have decided to change our initial public ticketing plan,” the committee said.

Spectators will still be required to “strictly adhere to the prevention and control requirements of Covid-19 before, during and after viewing the Olympics,” the committee continued.

The announcement comes after Beijing reported its first case of the highly transmissible variant of Omicron on January 15.

Where is the location?

While the Chinese capital Beijing is the official host city of the Olympics, the venues are spread across three zones: Beijing, Yanqing – a mountainous district 75 kilometers (about 46 miles) from Beijing. .6 miles) to the northwest – and Zhangjiakou, a skiing and snowboarding destination more than 100 kilometers (about 62.1 miles) beyond Yanqing.

Of the 13 event venues, one – the National Speed ​​Skating Oval House – has been newly built in Beijing, while the existing venues have also been renovated for the Olympics. .

Beijing National Stadium, commonly known as The Bird’s Nest, will host the opening and closing ceremonies.

Each of the three has its own Olympic Village, while all three are connected by a newly built intercity railway.

Who is the Olympic and Paralympic mascot?

The mascots of the Winter Olympics are Bing Dwen Dwen – a panda covered in a full-body “shell” made of ice – and Shuey Rhon Rhon for the Paralympics, a Chinese lantern child.

Bing Dwen Dwen (Bing means ‘ice’ in Mandarin, while Dwen Dwen means ‘child’) was selected from more than 5,800 entries from around the world.

The “shell” design allows the panda – China’s national animal – to skate, snowboard, and snowboard.

Follow Paralympics website, Shuey is the same pronunciation as the kanji for ‘snow’, the first Rhon means ‘include, endure’ and the second means ‘melt, merge and warm.’

What is the political controversy surrounding Beijing 2022?

The US, Canada, Australia and the UK are among the countries that have announced a boycott of the Winter Olympics.

That means athletes from those countries will still be able to compete in Beijing, but no government officials will be in attendance.

In December, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the boycott would be a “clear message” against China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang”.

According to the US Department of StateUp to two million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to have passed through detention centers in Xinjiang, which the Chinese government claims are “vocational training centers” aimed at eradicating poverty and combating religious extremism.

After the announcement of the US diplomatic boycott, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the US should “stop politicizing sports and hyping up the so-called ‘diplomatic boycott’ so as not to affect dialogue.” and Sino-US cooperation in important fields. ”

For athletes, the controversy surrounding the Olympics can lead to a moral dilemma. Last year, US ski star Mikaela Shiffrin, a three-time Olympic medalist, told CNN that “you certainly don’t want to be put in a position to choose between your human rights, your ethics, and your ability to do your job.”

Who are the athletes to see?

Shiffrin, who recently returned to the World Cup circuit of alpine skiing after contracting Covid-19, is considered one of the best athletes in Beijing. At this past Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, she won a gold medal in the combined alpine giant slalom and silver.

Other familiar faces on the US team will include skier Shaun White, who predict that this will be his last Olympics, 2018 halfpipe gold medalist Chloe Kim – the youngest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in snowboarding – and famous figure skater Nathan Chen.

Two-time figure skating gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan will face off against Chen for a third straight gold medal in men’s singles.

Mikael Kingsbury, the most decorated skier of all time, will also travel to Beijing to try to defend his title from 2018.

China, which was not dominant at the Winter Olympics compared to the Summer Olympics, won nine medals in 2018.

Among the host country’s best gold medal prospects this time around is the American-born freestyle skier. Eileen Gu, who won the world champion title in the halfpipe and sloppy last year.

According to sports data company Notes page, Norway – whose athletes often excel in cross-country skiing and triathlons – are predicted to top the medal standings with 45 medals ahead. Russian Olympic Committee with 32, Germany with 25, USA and Canada with 22.

Why did North Korea miss the Olympics?

One country that has announced that it will not send athletes to Beijing is North Korea.

According to the state news agency KCNA, a letter from the Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Culture and Sports of North Korea to its Chinese counterpart cited “hostile forces” and the global pandemic as the reason why. they did not participate, accusing the United States. and its allies are trying to prevent the successful opening of the Olympics.

The United States and its allies have become increasingly “unable to conceal their moves against China to prevent the successful opening of the Olympics,” the letter, which did not explicitly state a diplomatic boycott, said.

Last year, the IOC North Korean Olympic Committee suspends until end of 2022 as part of punishment for their “unilateral decision” to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics, barring the country from officially competing in Beijing.

The IOC said at the time that if any North Korean athlete qualified for the Winter Olympics through the processes already in place, it “will make the appropriate decision for the athlete(s).” related incentives.”

North Korean athletes competed at the 2018 Games, with athletes from the North and South marching together under one flag at the Opening Ceremony. A North Korean delegation was also sent to Korea during the Olympics.

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James Brien

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