Chinese Olympic organizers announced last week that tickets to events would only be available to “select groups” in order to protect those involved with the Games from COVID-19. Organizers had previously intended to offer tickets to the general public, though international fans had already been informed that they would not be able to attend the Games.
Organizers had announced in October that all participants, staff, and volunteers would be cut-off from the rest of society and there would be harsh repercussions for any that fail to follow the strict pandemic safety protocols.
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) January 17, 2022
As explained by the Daily Wire:
“All participants of the Games and our Chinese staff and volunteers will implement the same policy,” Beijing 2022 organizing committee official Zhang Jiandong said. “They will be strictly separated from the external society.”
Athletes that break protocol will face repercussions, such as expulsion from the Games.
“Those who do not comply with the epidemic prevention regulations may face severe consequences such as warning, temporary or permanent cancellation of registration, temporary or permanent disqualification or expulsion from the competition, and other punishment,” Zhang said.
COVID-19 testing will be required of all participants before arriving in Beijing and those not “fully vaccinated” will be subject to a 21-day quarantine. All involved in the Games will also be subject to daily testing.
Officials did not make clear who the “selected groups” were or how they would be selected, but IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi seemed to back Chinese officials decisions when he issued the following statement:
“We want everyone at the Games to be safe, that’s why we’re asking all participants to follow these guidelines. Keeping everyone healthy will ensure the focus remains on the very fundamentals of the Olympic and Paralympic Games — the athletes and the sport.”
One group that will not be selected to attend Olympic events is the National Hockey League, who announced in December that NHL players would not be allowed to participate in the Olympics due to the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked on the leagues schedule.
In the words of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman,
“The National Hockey League respects and admires the desire of NHL players to represent their countries and participate in a ‘best on best’ tournament. Accordingly, we have waited as long as possible to make this decision while exploring every available option to enable our players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Unfortunately, given the profound disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events — 50 games already have been postponed through Dec. 23 — Olympic participation is no longer feasible.”