Almost 1 month away! 5 questions as the Beijing Olympics rapidly approach

Opening Ceremony slated for Feb. 4

FILE - A crew member leaps to fix a logo for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics before a launch ceremony to reveal the motto for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing on Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File) (Mark Schiefelbein, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Fresh off celebrations for the holidays and the new year, Tuesday will mark the countdown to another festive occasion.

It’ll be exactly one month until another Olympics will begin -- this time, the 24th Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

Here are five questions entering the last-month countdown toward the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 4.


What is the COVID situation like in Beijing?

The COVID numbers aren’t as high in the region as in other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t concerns.

Traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations in the area were canceled as the country reported 166 locally transmitted infections last Thursday, according to Reuters.

As a country, China is operating with a “zero-COVID” policy, with single cases leading to total lockdowns in some towns.

What protective measures will athletes have to take, prior to flying to Beijing?

Any Olympian headed to Beijing has to provide two negative tests results within 96 hours of departing to China. Once in Beijing, athletes will be tested daily and those not fully vaccinated will have to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival.

Athletes and officials also will be in a “closed loop” or a “bubble,” where they will be banned from using public transit and essentially be stuck inside training venues or the Olympic Village.

Is the U.S. team pretty much set?

Not at all.

First and foremost, the figure skating team still has to be chosen, which will happen based on results of the national championships that will be held this week in Nashville.

Long-track speed skaters also will have their Olympic trials this week in Milwaukee, while the next couple weeks will determine qualifying spots on U.S. teams in sports such as cross-country, freestyle and alpine skiing, luge, nordic combined, skeleton and snowboarding.

Now that NHL players won’t be participating in the Olympics due to COVID-related reasons, the men’s Olympic hockey rosters, which will consist of mostly minor-league players, still have to be set.

Have there been any changes to the fan policy?

Nope.

Just like at this past summer’s Tokyo Olympics, international fans won’t be allowed to attend events. The only difference from Tokyo is that local fans from mainland China will be allowed to be at events for the Beijing Games, but only if they meet safety requirements.

What will the ‘diplomatic boycott’ of several countries mean?

Probably not a whole lot in regards to the Games and events themselves. The United States, Australia, Canada and Great Britain have said they won’t send government officials to any events at the Olympics in protest of China’s human rights record.

But as has been said before, the Games will go on and medals will still be handed out as usual, unless COVID says otherwise before or during the weeks-long spectacle in China.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.