Beijing will grow to be the primary metropolis to host each the Summer time and Winter Video games following its Olympic debut in 2008, and final month, organizers stated preparation was “very a lot on monitor” for the Video games to be delivered as deliberate.
Nevertheless it hasn’t been simple. As with final 12 months’s Summer time Olympics, a raft of Covid-19 countermeasures have been put in place forward of the Video games, which can once more happen in a Covid-safe “bubble” system.
When the Video games do lastly get underway with the opening ceremony on February 4 — lasting till the closing ceremony on February 20 — shut to three,000 athletes will compete in 15 disciplines throughout 109 occasions.
Beijing will then additionally host the Paralympic Video games, which run from March 4-13.
How will the Video games be staged amid the pandemic?
Organizers intend to carry Beijing 2022 in a closed loop system which can solely be accessible for Video games contributors — a plan that has remained in place amid the speedy unfold of the Omicron variant.
As outlined in a Video games playbook revealed in December, the closed loop system will embody venues, official accommodations and the occasion’s personal transport service.
Totally vaccinated contributors will be capable of enter the closed loop with out quarantining, whereas those that aren’t vaccinated might want to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival in Beijing.
Through the Video games, contributors might be topic to day by day well being monitoring and testing and can have no contact with most people.
“The loop may be very secure. It is a spot that I might say may be very tough to match with every other place on the earth at this time limit, as a result of now we have right here a completely vaccinated, typically boosted inhabitants that’s being examined day by day with a PCR and dwelling in a closed loop,” Pierre Ducrey, Olympic Video games operations director for the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC), advised reporters on January 12.
Ducrey added: “It’s known as a closed loop for that very motive. It means there might be no contact between folks exterior the loop and contained in the loop. It has been constructed to guard the inhabitants inside, and likewise the inhabitants exterior.”
Returning a confirmed constructive check will imply contributors can not compete or proceed their function within the Video games; those that are symptomatic will keep at a chosen hospital for remedy, whereas those that are asymptomatic might be transferred to an isolation facility.
Will followers attend?
Tickets for the Video games is not going to be offered to most people in response to the pandemic, however as an alternative distributed by authorities, the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee introduced on January 17.
“By way of the grim and sophisticated scenario of epidemic prevention and management [and] so as to shield the well being and security of Olympic personnel and spectators, now we have determined to alter the unique plan of public ticket gross sales,” the committee stated.
Audiences will nonetheless be required to “strictly adjust to Covid-19 prevention and management necessities earlier than, throughout and after watching the Video games,” the committee continued.
The announcement comes after Beijing reported its first case of the extremely transmissible Omicron variant on January 15.
The place are the venues?
Whereas the Chinese language capital of Beijing is the official host metropolis of the Video games, venues are unfold throughout three areas: Beijing, Yanqing — a mountainous district 75 kilometers (about 46.6 miles) northwest of Beijing — and Zhangjiakou, a snowboarding and snowboarding vacation spot an additional 100 kilometers (about 62.1 miles) past Yanqing.
Of the 13 venues internet hosting occasions, one — the Nationwide Velocity Skating Oval — has been newly in-built Beijing, whereas present venues have additionally been renovated for the Video games.
The Beijing Nationwide Stadium, generally known as The Chook’s Nest, will host the opening and shutting ceremonies.
Every of the three zones has its personal Olympic Village, whereas all three are linked by a newly constructed, intercity railway.
Who’re the Olympic and Paralympic mascots?
The mascot for the Winter Olympics is Bing Dwen Dwen — a panda wearing a full-body “shell” made out of ice — and Shuey Rhon Rhon for the Paralympics, a Chinese language lantern little one.
Bing Dwen Dwen (Bing means ‘ice’ in Mandarin Chinese language, whereas Dwen Dwen means ‘little one’) was chosen from over 5,800 submissions from around the globe.
The “shell” design allows the panda — China’s nationwide animal — to skate, snowboard and ski.
What’s the political controversy surrounding Beijing 2022?
The US, Canada, Australia and the UK are among the many nations to have introduced diplomatic boycotts of the Winter Olympics.
That implies that athletes from these nations will nonetheless be capable of compete in Beijing, however no authorities officers might be in attendance.
In December, White Home press secretary Jen Psaki stated that the boycott would function a “clear message” towards China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes towards humanity in Xinjiang.”
Following the announcement of the US diplomatic boycott, Chinese language Overseas Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian stated that the US ought to “cease politicizing sports activities and hyping up the so-called ‘diplomatic boycott’ in order to not have an effect on China-US dialogue and cooperation in necessary areas.”
Who’re the athletes to look at?
Shiffrin, who has not too long ago returned to alpine snowboarding’s World Cup circuit after contracting Covid-19, is about to be one of the crucial high-profile athletes in Beijing. On the final Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, she received gold within the large slalom and silver within the alpine mixed.
Two-time determine skating gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan will go up towards Chen in his bid to win a 3rd consecutive gold medal within the males’s singles occasion.
Mikael Kingsbury, probably the most adorned mogul skier of all time, may also be heading to Beijing to try to defend his title from 2018.
China, not as dominant on the Winter Olympics in comparison with the Summer time Video games, received 9 medals in 2018.
Why is North Korea going to overlook the Video games?
One nation to have introduced that it’s going to not be sending athletes to Beijing is North Korea.
In response to state-run information company KCNA, a letter despatched from North Korea’s Olympic Committee and Ministry of Bodily Tradition and Sports activities to its Chinese language counterpart cited “hostile forces” and the worldwide pandemic as the explanations for its non-participation, accusing america and its allies of making an attempt to stop the profitable opening of the Olympics.
The US and its allies are getting “evermore undisguised of their strikes towards China aimed toward stopping the profitable opening of the Olympics,” the letter, which didn’t explicitly cite diplomatic boycotts, stated.
The IOC stated on the time that if any North Korean athletes have been to qualify for the Winter Olympics by way of processes already going down, it “will take an applicable determination in the end for the athlete(s) involved.”
CNN’s Nectar Gan contributed reporting to this piece.