With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics approaching quickly, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Friday that the events will go forward with strong COVID-19 countermeasures
In an open letter, IOC president Thomas Bach stated that like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Beijing 2022 Olympics will also have a vaccine programme, which makes vaccinations accessible and encouraged to all participants and athletes. Regarding this and other countermeasures being put in place, Bach said “we are sparing no effort to make these Olympic Winter Games safe and secure for everyone.”
The Beijing Games are scheduled to begin in February, just months after the delayed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics ended this August. This summer’s games went forward after considerable pushback from the medical community in Japan, with the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association recommending the games’ cancellation in the months before they opened, worried about a shortage of medical staff and worsening case counts in the country. Following the summer games, over 500 cases were reported in staff, media, contractors and athletes, despite most athletes and participants being vaccinated.
“The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 come at an important moment to bring the world together in the Olympic spirit of peace, solidarity and unity,” said Bach. “It will once again be the athletes of these Olympic Games that will send this message of the unifying power of sport to the world.”
For team Canada, next year’s games means the first time that many of the NHL’s heavy hitters will get a chance to skate on Olympic ice since the League opted out of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in favor of the World Cup of Hockey Instead.
According to Bach, the first edition of the games’ Playbooks, which will cover the detailed COVID-19 protocols, is scheduled to be published in October.