In six months, already the new Olympics: the Tokyo Olympics are just around the corner, the Beijing Winter Olympics are on the horizon (4-20 February 2022): if the sites are ready, many uncertainties will move on its organization in the midst of the epidemic.
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The Chinese capital, which is already hosting the 2008 Olympics, will be the first city to host the Winter and Summer Olympics.
The events take place in three different locations: downtown Beijing hosts indoor sports (figure skating, speed skating, short-track, ice hockey, curling), big air and opening ceremonies. Most of these Olympic facilities have been suitable for winter sports, since 2008.
Alpine skiing, bobsleigh and tobogganing are played in the mountainous suburbs of the capital. Finally, the Zhangjiakou site in the neighboring province of Hebei hosts other events (cross country skiing, ski jumping, biathlon, snowboarding, freestyle skiing).
The construction of all the competition venues was completed in several months, but the sand grain remained in the company made with this oil: Kovid.
By the spring of 2020 China had largely brought the epidemic under control, with an unusually high number, although it has registered dozens of daily cases in recent days.
Thousands of athletes, coaches and journalists, how to handle the puzzle of the arrival of Kovid’s vectors? The executive committee is currently silent.
“The Tokyo strategy is very effective and Beijing should set up something similar,” said Bo Li, a professor of sports management at the University of Miami (United States).
Isolating disease suspects?
In Tokyo, athletes were quarterfinalized in the Olympic Village and had to pass the daily Kovid test.
“There really is no other choice but this bubble,” said Marking Dreyer, a sports analyst based in Beijing and founder of China Sports Insider.
“The difference is that China is concerned about the risk of the virus spreading from athletes to the population.
Control, heavy screening, mobile travel tracking applications: Authorities have been targeting “Zero Infection” since the coronavirus appeared in the country in late 2019.
“I think we can expect tough approach and zero patience from Chinese organizers,” predicted Professor Simon Chadwick, who specializes in sports at Asia at the EM Lyon Business School.
According to him, talks between Beijing and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on anti-Kovid measures will be “much harder” than Tokyo’s concern about the comfort of athletes.
One question remains: what about the two- or three-week detention at a hotel that China imposes on people coming from abroad. Will it also be imposed on Olympic delegates?
“This is not realistic. Who should pay? The organizing committee? IOC? And the preparation of the athletes will be greatly affected. This is not acceptable to most of them,” Bo Li warned.
Another question: Do we see empty bleachers like in Tokyo?
“It’s not possible to allow an audience from abroad. But what happens to a local audience?
In April, the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac offered the South American Football Confederation (Canmebol) a 50,000-dose vaccine that could vaccinate the entire professional world in South America, especially before Copa America.
China could offer a similar operation before the Beijing summit.
“During the games, she wants to show off her new energy and strength. But she also wants the whole world to love her,” said Simon Chadwick.
“Therefore she must be very careful about her anti-Kovid actions without tarnishing the seductive image she wants to send back.”
The film can also be disturbed by the boycott calls made by many associations for the protection of human rights, especially the name of the protection of Uyghurs in Xinjiang (northwest China).
The attacks are being carried out by Islamist separatists in the region, with authorities accusing them of encroaching on millions of Muslims in “camps”, which Beijing has condemned, speaking of “training centers”.
“Athletes can go (to the Olympics), but we believe sponsors, foreign celebrities, celebrities should not be legalized by the Chinese government,” the Human Rights Watch Association said on Friday.
U.S. and UK parliamentarians have called on their national leaders not to come to Beijing. The National Olympic Committee, the main sponsor or head of state has not yet responded to these calls.