Olympic Athletes To Be In ‘Closed Loop’ At Beijing Winter Olympics

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More than a year and a half since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of sports is still not back to normal. 

In an effort to allow the 2022 Winter Olympics to go on without a COVID-19-related hiccup, Beijing will be implementing strict rules for athletes and won’t be allowing friends and family to attend. 

Organizers of the Winter Games confirmed on Wednesday that athletes will be in a “closed loop,” isolated from the rest of society.   

“All participants of the Games and our Chinese staff and volunteers will implement the same policy,” Beijing 2022 organizing committee official Zhang Jiandong said. “They will be strictly separated from the external society.”

Athletes that break protocol will face repercussions, such as expulsion from the Games. 

“Those who do not comply with the epidemic prevention regulations may face severe consequences such as warning, temporary or permanent cancellation of registration, temporary or permanent disqualification or expulsion from the competition, and other punishment,” Zhang said.

Testing will be required before athletes arrive in Beijing, and participants will also be subject to daily testing throughout their time in China. 

“We want everyone at the Games to be safe, that’s why we’re asking all participants to follow these guidelines,” IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said in a statement.

“Keeping everyone healthy will ensure the focus remains on the very fundamentals of the Olympic and Paralympic Games — the athletes and the sport.”

Athletes and team officials must be fully vaccinated in order to avoid a 21-day quarantine. 

Unlike at the Tokyo Games, the vaccine will be a requirement for members of the U.S. Olympic Team. 

“Effective Nov. 1, 2021, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee will require all employees, athletes, contractors and others to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or obtain a medical or religious exemption prior to accessing USOPC facilities – including the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Centers – and all events or activities hosted by the USOPC’s internally managed sports,” Team USA said on their website. “As of Dec. 1, 2021, this mandate will also extend to all Team USA delegation members or hopefuls for future Games.”  

Much like the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, some spectators will be allowed to attend events, but only if they are from mainland China. The families of athletes will not be allowed to travel to China to watch their loved ones compete. 

“The IOC and IPC welcome the decision to allow for the sale of tickets to spectators residing in China’s mainland,” the IOC said in September. “This will facilitate the growth of winter sports in China by giving those spectators a first-hand Olympic and Paralympic experience of elite winter sports, as well as bringing a favourable atmosphere to the venues. However, all parties feel for the athletes and the spectators from around the world, knowing that the restriction on spectators from outside mainland China had to be put in place in order to ensure the safe holding of the Games this winter.”

The 2022 Winter Olympics will run from February 4 through February 20.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].

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