2022 Winter Olympics Begin in Beijing amid Coronavirus Pandemic
After the 2020 Summer Olympics were pushed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2022 Winter Olympics have begun on schedule in Beijing, China. Competition begins on Feb. 2, 2022, with the opening ceremony scheduled for Feb. 4, 2022.
That is not to say the games have been without hitches. China instituted a “zero-Covid” policy, employing “large-scale lockdowns, mass testing and international travel bans,” according to journalist Smriti Mallapaty.
China’s borders have also effectively been closed to international visitors for much of the pandemic, making the Olympics a particularly big test for the country as almost three thousand athletes and their teams arrive in Beijing.
International athletes and their teams will be tested for coronavirus daily and have to remain in a bubble: arriving on chartered flights instead of commercial airlines and riding in specific cars dedicated to the athletes to navigate the closed athletes’ loop that includes over 12 venues for competition, three athletes’ villages and dozens of hotels, and three media centers. The loop is sealed off from the public and protected by police. Everyone within the loop, including over 30,000 staff from cooks to volunteers, are required to be tested daily and stay in the loop until the end of the games.
Though they will be performing to mostly empty, quiet stands, the athletes will will debut seven new sports: freestyle skiing: mixed team aerials; freestyle skiing: men’s big air; freestyle skiing: women’s big air; short-track speedskating: mixed team relay; ski jumping: mixed team event; snowboarding: mixed team snowboard cross; and bobsled: women’s monobob.
The 2022 games may set a standard for future games if such strict Covid-19 measures are still needed. The host cities for four future Olympics are: Paris Summer 2024, Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter 2026, Los Angeles Summer 2028, and Brisbane Summer 2032 (Winter 2030 has not yet been set).
Competition in Beijing ends on Feb. 18, 2022, with the closing ceremony scheduled for Feb. 20.
1. Do you think the Olympics should be played if they require such strict Covid-19 measures? Explain your answer.
2. Read “Hosting the Olympic Games – Top 3 Pros and Cons.” Which side do you most agree with? Why?
3. What are your opinions on “Doping Cases at the Olympic Games“? Should athletes be able to take performance enhancing drugs? Explain your opinion(s).
1. Andrew Keh, “At the ‘Logistics Games,’ Just Arriving Is a Victory,” nytimes.com, Jan. 31, 2022
2. Olympics, “Olympic Schedule & Results,” olympics.com (accessed Feb. 1, 2022)
3. Smriti Mallapaty, “China’s Zero-COVID Strategy: What Happens Next?,” nature.com, Jan. 27, 2022
4. Olympics, “Beijing 2022: Olympic Athletes,” olympics.com (accessed Feb. 1, 2022)
5. Andrew Keh, “2022 Beijing Winter Olympics: Answers to Some Big Questions,” nytimes.com, Jan. 6, 2022
6. Olympics, “Olympic Games,” olympics.com (accessed Feb. 1, 2022)