I do not describe myself as a sports-oriented person at all. I don’t have a favorite team for any sport, and. In fact, I do not even watch the Super Bowl. Yet, for some reason, I look forward to the Olympics — both the Summer and Winter games. I’m not sure why, but something about an international sports competition appeals to me.
Maybe it’s the excitement amongst the athletes who trained their entire lives for that moment. Or perhaps it’s the way the entire world comes together for two entire weeks. I mean, it’s pretty amazing when you think about it — almost every country is represented by athletes with a common purpose to bring home a medal and make their country proud.
The 2022 Beijing Olympics will be the second Olympics under COVID-19 restrictions.
The Beijing Bubble has a “zero COVID” policy. Temperatures are checked when athletes arrive at the airport. Workers, dressed in full PPE, ensure everyone gets swabbed and tests are negative. Failure to meet any health requirements can result in days of isolation or even a withdrawal from the games. Athletes should get a gold medal just for passing all these health screenings!
Inside the bubble, robots are supposedly cleaning the floors, serving food, and spraying disinfectant to ensure the air stays are clean. Furthermore, anyone working within the bubble will be sealed off from the outside world and will not contact their family during the Olympic Games. All vehicles being used for the Olympics are labeled with a red sign and residents are urged to avoid contact with these vehicles. China has also restructured travel between cities and has placed some areas with high COVID-19 cases on lockdown.
However, the global pandemic is not the only issue with the Beijing Olympics. Recent political and human rights issues have resulted in a diplomatic boycott from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Athletes will still participate, but diplomats won’t be present. Across the country, individual boycotts have occurred as well.
Despite all restrictions and boycotts, though, the Olympics will still go on. This past Friday, 2,900 athletes from 90 countries came together to compete. Friday’s Winter Olympics opening ceremony had ~14M viewers, making it one of the least-viewed opening ceremonies in Olympic history, according to NBC Sports. The Winter Olympics end on Sunday February 20th, so you still have plenty of time to tune and support the athletes and cheer for the games.
If you’re on the fence about watching the Olympics this year, let me share a few reasons why you should tune in:
- The US Curling Team is back and defending their championship.
- Mariah Bell will be the oldest figure skater in 94 years to compete in the women’s competition.
- Snowboarder Shaun White is back for his fifth and final Olympics.
- Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinksi will be broadcasting live from Connecticut (due to pandemic restrictions).
In other words, yes, this is a year to be excited about the Winter Olympics, regardless of your political views. So tune into the games on NBC or download the NBC app to stay abreast with all the game highlights. The Winter Olympics continue until February 20, 2022.
Feature Image via Pexels