Beijing started its one-year countdown until the 2022 Winter Olympics on 4 February 2022. This is the first time for China to host the Winter Olympics, besides, Beijing will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
In the past year, the Olympic movement has been in a deep crisis of confidence. The grim dilemma of the Tokyo Olympics have shown that the current pandemic is the biggest threat to sports. All preparations for the Winter Olympics were supposed to go on in good order, a sudden pandemic more or less affected some of athletes’ original plans.
Ziwei Ren, a short track speed skater says: “To be honest, in last year, Covid-19 really bothered me a long time, particularly on psychological level as my preparing rhythms have been fully disrupted. Anyways, I feel right now.”
Most Chinese winter Olympic national team players are from northern China, which is with long and freezing winters and uniquely positioned for ice and snow sports. However, the north is also the area with most sporadic coronavirus cases nationwide. In this specific situation, safety and health are the foremost for professional athletes, in order to prevent and control the epidemic, PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing sites and emergency facilities have been equipped near the training base.
“We’ll test athletes weekly and all in closed training. It’s a huge challenge with virus, but all the logistics are in place, it won’t affect normal preparation too much,” says Bei Zhang, leader of the Chinese cross-country skiing national training team.
Despite amid pandemic, athletes’ passion for winter Olympics never faded, they keep on making determined efforts and get ready to realise their dreams next year.