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A Quick Rundown of the 2022 Olympics

This year the winter Olympics are being held in Beijing, China. And although competitions began two days prior the opening ceremony occurred on Feb. 4, commencing the official beginning of the games. The games will continue through mid-February, and end with a closing ceremony on the 20th

Despite a packed opening ceremony, there is one major difference about this year’s Olympics—no one is allowed to buy a ticket. Only a couple of designated Communist Party members are being offered the chance to attend. China is attempting to host the games—with zero COVID. That means that the athletes are kept in a very tight bubble, commonly referred to as “the closed-loop system” or the “Olympic bubble,” and can only travel through the designated buses and cars. Even in this loop, athletes are encouraged to avoid each other and have no physical contact. Additionally, athletes must either be vaccinated or quarantined for 21 days before being allowed into the loop. 

Besides COVID, there are numerous other safety concerns for the athletes competing in Beijing. Year-round, China keeps a tight watch on its citizens to make sure they do not speak against the government, and the athletes at the Olympics are no exception. In a press conference Yang Shu, who is the deputy director of international relations for the Beijing organizing committee, stated that athletes who spoke out against China would be “subject to certain punishment. . . At the medal ceremonies, they cannot make their opinions but in press conferences or interviews, athletes are free to express their opinions, but athletes need to be responsible for what they say.” No one knows exactly what the punishment would be, but it is not guaranteed that the International Olympic Committee would protect the prosecuted athletes. 

Amidst the political pressure currently going on, many countries have decided to partake in a diplomatic boycott of the games. This means that the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries will not have their government officials present to spectate. This is speculated to be a result of the imprisonment of nearly two million Uyghurs and Muslim minorities conducted by the Chinese Communist Party. 

Despite the new restrictions and boycotts that athletes have to be conscious of, the games are still proceeding as normal. 200 U.S. athletes are currently competing in 107 different events, which include figure skating, bobsledding, skiing, snowboarding and hockey. Although the U.S. finished fourth in the last winter games with 9 gold medals, there are many previous winners returning.  

Amongst them is Shaun White, a three-time gold medal winner for half-pipe snowboarding, who is almost guaranteed to bring home gold. Chloe Kim, who received an almost perfect score in 2018 for women’s half-pipe snowboarding, is also returning for this year’s games. 

Although the games are being streamed live on TV (you can find the schedule here), athletes posting about their experiences have been going viral on TikTok. Adam Rippon, a former athlete now turned coach, went viral for showing off his haul of Olympic gear. 

Shaun White has also amassed quite a following with his daily TikToks that display the day-to-day life of an Olympic athlete.

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Alexandra is a sophomore at Florida State University. She wishes to pursue a career in editing and publishing! Her favorite activities are to read (mostly fantasy) and to play Stardew Valley.
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