What you need to know about the Beijing Winter Games


The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.  Program launched amid boycotts and health concernsThe 2022 edition will be different from the previous one. What would the health ban look like? How many athletes will compete? How much freedom of movement and expression will they have? DW answered five questions about the mega event. The 2022 Winter Olympics opened in Beijing on this Friday (04/02). The sports mega-event takes place amid a host of health and political issues. The United States and other countries staged a diplomatic boycott of the event. This was the way governments protested human rights violations and abuses committed by the Chinese government – ​​such as, for example, the suppression of the Uighur ethnic minority – that, however, failed to send athletes to the Games. It is also worth mentioning that the current health crisis in China, which, like many other countries, has seen an increase in cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks. The government imposed several regional lockdowns to contain the spread of the disease and subjected athletes and foreign delegations to a strict containment plan. The opening ceremony of the Games took place this Friday at Beijing’s National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest. Who competes in the Winter Games? About 2,900 athletes from more than 90 countries will compete for the medals in Beijing. Among them is the German Claudia Pechstein. At 49, the speed skater competes in the Winter Games for the eighth time. He is the oldest athlete in the competition. By the closing ceremony on February 20, medals will be awarded in a total of 109 sports, seven more than the Pyeongchang Games in 2018. This is thanks to a combination of ski jumping, skating and short track and snowboarding. Bobsleigh will also mark the start of the women’s monobob event. Unlike the Summer Olympics, the Winter Games have only a few big stars. American slalom skier Mikaela Shiffrin, current Olympic champion, Japanese figure skater Hanyu Yuzuru and Dutch speed skater Irene Wurst are some of them. Brazil will compete in the 2022 edition with 11 athletes competing in freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, bobsled and skeleton. Where will the competitions take place? The game mods will be distributed in three locations: Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. The Chinese capital will host ice competitions: speed skating, short track, figure skating and curling. Some of the facilities used at the 2008 Summer Olympics will also be used in 2022. The only new venue will be a speed skating venue. A special venue built on a former industrial site will host freestyle skiing and snowboarding competitions. Skiers and bobsled and luge athletes will have to travel 75 kilometers from the Olympic Village to Yanqing, where the newly constructed snow and ski slopes are located. Zhangjiakou, about 180 kilometers from Beijing, will host biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping and Nordic skiing, along with some snowboarding and freestyle competitions. All three headquarters are connected by high-speed train lines. It is expected that there will not be enough natural snowfall at all three venues, making these games the first to be held with 100% artificial snow. Yanqing and Zhangjiakou are located in a nature reserve whose area has been adapted for sports. What is the status of Kovid-19 in Beijing? The organizers promised to do everything possible to ensure “smooth winter games”. Part of the strict “Covid zero” strategy is mass testing and contact restrictions, which include a lockdown of entire districts or cities. All passengers traveling to Beijing must be tested prior to ascent and disembarkation, and may proceed only on a “closed circuit”. Daily PCR tests are mandatory, and results should be posted on the official My2022 app along with body temperature and other up-to-date health information. The app has been criticized for security concerns and protection of personal data. There were also concerns about the test because of the potential for manipulation. Those who test positive must remain in quarantine for ten days in a hotel, from where they can be released if they self-test with negative results. Beijing Organizing Committee spokesman Zhao Weidong said, “The safety and health of participants is our top priority. However, China has not achieved its goal of containing the ubiquitous version of the coronavirus outside the country’s borders. For the pandemic, fewer Chinese nationals will be able to attend live events than expected. There will be no foreign spectators. Ticket sales to the general public were suspended last month. It’s been a long time since an edition of the Olympic Games has received such criticism. In fact, the last time this happened was at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. Many at the time hoped that the mega-event could bring about political change and greater openness of China. But the political system has become more restrictive than ever. Systematic repression of Uighur and Tibetan minorities occurs in China. Virtually suppressed in Hong Kong. Surveillance techniques expanded across the country. More recently Chinese tennis International level over player Peng Shuai’s health Concerns have been raised on R. The athlete was missing for days after former deputy prime minister Zhang Gaoli accused him of sexual assault. Because of these human rights concerns, some countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan have decided to conduct a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games. In Germany’s case, even with the country not officially participating in the boycott, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other leaders said they would not travel to Beijing during the mega-event. Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, was present at the opening ceremony of the Games at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, even though his country is not officially represented by a team. This is because, in 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned Russia from all international sports for a period of four years after an investigation concluded that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency sponsored a country’s involvement in doping. Worked to protect athletes. plan by the state. Russian athletes can compete as “neutral athletes” in Beijing. Can athletes speak politically? “Any statement or behavior that is contrary to Olympic spirit, and in particular Chinese laws and regulations, will have consequences,” a spokesman for the Beijing Organizing Committee said. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) abides by Olympic statute, which states that political statements are allowed in press conferences, interviews or on social media, but not in competitions or medal ceremonies. The statute also states that “applicable laws” must be followed, but does not go into further detail. However, it seems unlikely that any athlete would dare to comment on the political situation in China. Author Andreas Stein-Ziemons

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