COVID-19 and boycotts possible spoilers for XXIV Olympic Winter Games
Beijing is going to great lengths to make sure Covid-19 does not impact the Winter Olympic Games. Athletes, media and observers, who must be fully vaccinated, will stay in three distinct bubbles, and foreign spectators are barred.
The BBC reports that more than 180 organisations have called on governments to boycott Beijing 2022 because of reported human rights abuses against ethnic minorities. China has issued a forceful warning against any nation heeding the call from the rights groups.
Reuters notes that Beijing has maintained strict quarantine regulations to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks, but visiting athletes and fans might be from countries still fighting the coronavirus, or where the new variant, Omicron, has been reported.
The measures against Covid-19 are expected to go far beyond those taken at the Tokyo Games in 2021. They include all-day armpit thermometers, with tiny transmitters to sound the alarm should someone develop a fever. Guards in biohazard suits, will be ready to stop anyone from leaving.
The Opening and Closing Ceremonies will take place at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, which was the main stadium used for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The IOC has announced that the 2022 Games will introduce the first Olympic women’s monobob (one-person bobsleigh) event and men’s and women’s freestyle skiing big air, mixed team freestyle skiing aerials, mixed team ski jumping, snowboard cross mixed team relay, and short track mixed relay. The events add to the traditional winter sports of biathlon, bobsleigh (including skeleton), curling, ice hockey, luge, skating (including figure skating, short track, and speed skating), and skiing (including alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and snowboard).