As Olympics approach, China tightens rules, athletes invent theirs

The exemption, however, comes with a strict requirement that foreigners do not leave a “closed loop” of hotels and sports venues, connected by special buses and trains.

“We must never get out of the closed loop, let alone reach city level – this is our bottom line,” said Huang Chun, deputy director of the organizing committee’s epidemic prevention and control bureau. Olympic.

For those outside of China, getting to the Olympics in the first place has remained the most pressing goal.

Many are now taking proactive steps to keep the virus at bay before their scheduled departure for Beijing. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, for example, has begun to strongly encourage, but not require, that its athletes receive booster shots. The British Olympic Association has said it is similarly recommending boosters for its athletes “where possible”. Some teams go a step further, specifically telling athletes to try and get the Moderna booster after the company announced results from early studies that appeared to show it to be slightly more effective against the Omicron variant. Other studies have suggested that these results are more optimistic than realistic since Moderna and Pfizer vaccines remain largely unavailable in much of the world.

For many athletes and teams, however, the grief of having years of hard work erased by a positive test on the eve of the Games seemed almost unimaginable. This fear has led to changes big and small.

In the Netherlands, the national speed skating trials – usually a boisterous, multi-day affair held in front of tens of thousands of fans – will take place behind closed doors next week amid nationwide blockades, with only teams and selected members of the media authorized to enter. the rink.

In Austria, a group of American biathletes training at a high altitude camp in Ramsau am Dachstein sent a single staff member on sporadic visits to the grocery store with a large shopping list containing the various demands of the athletes, in the framework efforts to limit potential exposure.

And Olympic hopefuls who will compete at the U.S. figure skating championships next month in Nashville – where masks will be mandatory for fans, but vaccinations not – are already making plans to avoid risky situations. Madison Hubbell, an American ice dancer, said major figure skating competitions were already infamous for the spread of colds and flu. As in previous years, Hubbell will be staying in a rental apartment rather than the team hotel.

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