Senior Elly Flaherty and Junior Addie Smitten prepare to start their Nordic ski race, and congratulate Junior Kyle Och on his race he just finished.

Photo by Charli Burdick-Kitchell

Senior Elly Flaherty and Junior Addie Smitten prepare to start their Nordic ski race, and congratulate Junior Kyle Och on his race he just finished. The team is close but they take the COVID-19 precautions necessary for Nordic ski team, the six foot skis help a lot with social distancing.

Beijing Winter Olympics ready to fight spread of COVID-19, support their athletes

February 27, 2022

The Beijing Winter Olympics are the biggest event in 2022 so far. It will boost spirit in a global-wide pandemic and bring countries together as they celebrate their athletes. But with such a big event and over 20,000 people there, there needs to be protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I think it’s an amazing opportunity for athletes and I’m glad it’s happening. Hopefully, we can minimize risks to keep them as small as possible,” math teacher Peter Hoyem said.

The athletes and staff the moment they touch down from their plans and arrive will be in a “closed-loop” where they will not be able to make contact outside of their bubble. In the closed-loop are the stadiums, conference centers, gyms, and more than 70 hotels. There are over 4,000 vehicles dedicated to transporting the athletes, “the most important part is masking on the bus” Hoyem explained, and in downtown, the “loop” is fenced off and is being closely guarded by the police. This is all to protect the athletes and all the participants into making the Olympic games run.

“The pandemic presents a new and significant challenge for teams and athletes who must implement public health mitigation steps to limit exposure to the virus,” the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at the University of Minnesota, Amy Kircher said.

Everyone that is entering the bubble are being required to be fully vaccinated or go through a 21-day quarantine upon arriving in Beijing. All athletes have to take two COVID-19 tests too. The people in the bubble also have to download an app where they have to upload their body temperature and answer health questions every day.

Two years into the pandemic and the Tokyo summer Olympics have provided knowledge on effective public health measures that could be implemented to the Beijing Winter Games.”

— Amy Kircher

Some sports already have social distancing handled such as nordic or cross country skiing where the skis are over six feet long and the poles are taller than their user, senior Gavin Browning explained.

Inside the bubble, catching COVID-19 will send the member home or go into the designated COVID-19 hospital. The member would get kicked out of the games. Getting symptoms means they would be sent to a designated hospital too.

“I think athletes take COVID protocols very seriously because you don’t want to spread it to your team because they probably have worked just as hard as you have,” Browning said.

Not following the COVID-19 procedure can really affect their team. If they have had an unmasked exposure for over 15 minutes, they would have to get two daily COVID-19 tests. This can affect their practice time, they can miss their events, and their team would be down a valued player.

Athletes are going to want to follow the COVID-19 protocols because “they televise everything,” Browning said. Athletes do not want to get into a scandal by not following procedures.

The question is will the “closed-loop” be enough? The evidence says yes because they have been catching cases at the participants flying into the airport and redirecting them. As of February 1, there have been 54 reported cases in the “closed-loop”, them being athletes and team officials. But with over 3,000 athletes and coaches, and over 20,000 Olympic games staff from across the world we can expect the number to keep increasing.

“The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are implementing the appropriate public health measures to protect athletes, coaches, and Olympic staff. Two years into the pandemic and the Tokyo summer Olympics have provided knowledge on effective public health measures that could be implemented to the Beijing Winter Games,” Kircher said.

“The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are implementing the appropriate public health measures to protect athletes, coaches, and Olympic staff. Two years into the pandemic and the Tokyo summer Olympics have provided knowledge on effective public health measures that could be implemented to the Beijing Winter Games,” Kircher said.

The Pony Express • Copyright 2022 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in