IOC assures teams Winter Olympics in Beijing will go ahead

The IOC has promised Olympic teams worldwide that the Winter Games in Beijing will go ahead as planned next month

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 05 January 2022 19:15
APTOPIX China Olympics
APTOPIX China Olympics

A day after Switzerland s team leader asked for talks about possibly postponing the Beijing Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic, the IOC promised officials worldwide on Wednesday the Winter Games will go ahead as planned.

The Swiss Olympic committee said the IOC gave assurances about staging next month's event during a video conference call with teams.

The International Olympic Committee also promised case-by-case assessments of athletes who recover after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of traveling to China the Swiss team said in a statement.

“The issue of a postponement is no longer relevant to all of us,” Swiss team leader Ralph Stöckli said in the statement.

The International Olympic Committee is hoping to avoid a second straight delay. The Tokyo Games, originally scheduled to be held in 2020, were postponed by one year. That decision was made four months before the scheduled opening ceremony.

However, Stöckli raised concerns about going ahead with the Beijing Olympics amid rising numbers of athletes being infected by COVID-19 when speaking Tuesday in a Swiss television interview.

“We must really discuss the possibility of a postponement of the Games,” Stöckli had told French-language state broadcaster RTS “If we don’t have the best athletes there, that’s going to be very, very difficult.”

After listening to the IOC on Wednesday, the Swiss Olympic team said it is “happy to now have some certainty on this subject.”

Another Swiss concern that was eased Wednesday related to waiting times after recovering from a COVID-19 infection before an athlete would be allowed to enter China. The IOC and Chinese organizers announced that a panel of international experts will evaluate individual cases and handle the issue in a “more flexible manner,” the Swiss team said.

“It’s a positive signal,” Stöckli said, otherwise given the high current case rates “we would have had to assume many athletes, no longer presenting any risk of infection, would have been deprived of their dream of participating in the Olympic Games.”

Still, the team noted “very demanding” conditions to compete, qualify and prepare with the opening ceremony on Feb. 4 only 30 days away.

Stöckli acknowledged Wednesday “there will probably be disappointments” for athletes who end up being unable to compete.

Beijing organizers and the IOC are creating a health safety bubble for the Olympics with stricter testing and limits on travel and movement than were enforced at last year's Tokyo Games.

The rules include a 21-day quarantine for athletes, officials and workers not fully vaccinated, daily testing even for vaccinated people and also keeping local staff within the bubble.

International fans are again being kept away though tickets to attend events in stadiums will be sold to people living in China.

___

More AP Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in