When Beijing first won the hosting rights for the 2022 Winter Games, the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) made a promise to turn 300 million Chinese people into winter sports lovers. Zhao Weidong is a spokesperson of Beijing Winter Olympics Organising Committee and also the Director of the Media & Communications Department of Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Zhao did his best to get into the Olympic spirit by learning to ski, a sport unfamiliar to many in China. Zhao’s first foray into skiing was full of falling and frustration, but after a few lessons he gradually got the hang of it. His own experience of mastering skiing sets an example for many more Chinese to take up this activity, no matter the learning curve.
However, the global Covid-19 pandemic presents a hurdle that cannot be overcome with enthusiasm alone. With the pandemic still ongoing, the Beijing Winter Olympics Organising Committee is taking no chances with the safety of the competitors and staff. Beginning with the Tokyo Games last year, the IOC and the host city’s organizing committee have released playbooks to athletes and officials to ensure that all participants and residents remain safe and healthy. The second edition of the Beijing 2022 Playbook was released last month, which covered all COVID-19 countermeasures, including vaccination, customs entry requirements and game-time health monitoring and isolation. Beijing will deploy a closed-loop strategy to ensure that visiting athletes and officials can compete in a comparatively safe zone which is isolated from the general public. This strict strategy will ensure public safety and can serve as a template for future sporting events. Tickets for the upcoming Games will not be sold to overseas spectators or any spectators from high risk areas within China. In response to these restrictions, Beijing Winter Olympics Organising Committee has done trial runs for spectators at test events at the venues. Zhao and the rest of the Organising Committee are adamant that the Games can entertain fans of winter sports.