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Bearcats on Beijing

Bearcats on Beijing

The new year, 2022, began with the resurfacing of Covid-19 and its varying strains, with no regards to the fast approaching Winter Olympic games. The games are scheduled to occur from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20 with 19 days in between set aside for 15 of the most chilling sports. In the last few months of 2021, the National Hockey League (NHL) stated that none of the current hockey players would participate in the Beijing Olympics solely based on increasing Covid concerns. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and American Hockey League (AHL) athletes will have a chance to participate for the USA team alongside many other countries. With the Olympics being held in Beijing, discussion of safety protocols has been paramount to whether or not countries send their athletes due to exposure with the Omicron and Delta variants. 

  The guidelines for the 2,900 athletes have changed since the Olympic games this past summer in Tokyo, Japan, from July 23 to Aug. 8 2021, though several of the same rules are in place for the athletes, coaches, and media who are to be in attendance at the events. The rules include some type of isolation period after the arrival to Beijing, as well as required testing daily in order to participate and/or be present for the events. Athletes traveling to China do not have to be vaccinated in order to partake in the Olympics;however, they will have to be in isolation for a three week period after leaving the “bubble.” The “bubble” is an area that the city of Beijing has set aside for the people taking part in the Winter Olympics, which is solely for Olympic personnel.

  Foreign exchange student Willa Wroldsen-Rolland gave her thoughts on the precautions for Covid-19, along with how she feels about her home country’s engagement in Beijing.

I fully support countries for taking out their athletes, but for now Norway plans on sending their athletes as long as they’re vaccinated

Rolland, an exchange student from Bærum, Norway, said.

While Rolland has been in the United States, she has started to experience the different guidelines present for the Covid-19 variants. Having been dreaming of the states for 8 years of her life, finally being able to enjoy the “American dream” has been enlightening, but different from her current guidelines in both countries. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), Norway is in level 4, which is considered the highest level on the current scale, for Covid 19. Some of the guidelines for Norway are similar to those in the US, with face coverings required and the quarantine  measures in place for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Along with similar testing measures to those being used for the Olympics, with rapid tests and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests being offered for those traveling.

 According to the CDC, the world average of Covid cases have fluctuated with about 21,820,541 in a weekly period, with Norway being 32 and the US being one on the most recent list. Rolland is also an athlete, and she competes in showjumping activities that are parallel to the summer olympic sport of Team Jumping. She is enraptured for the start of the games, but is still very concerned for their personal safety. Rolland is in a situation with her home country and that of the US, with Norway being offered to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. The financial burden was only part of the decision made by Norway. The Norwegian people have had opposition to the idea of the games with the pandemic still raging, especially with Omicron and Delta variants transmission rates becoming higher as each new day arises.

Some of America’s well known athletes will represent the country during this chaos. Snowboarder Shaun White and men’s figure skater Nathan Chen are two of our athletes to go head to head for the gold. White is set to go to his fifth winter Olympic games to defend his 2018 gold medal win in the men’s half-pipe. However, White will face one of his biggest rivals in the coming days with Ayumu Hirano a Japanese snowboarder who beat White during the LAAX competition this past year.

Figure Skater Nathan Chen

Chen’s main competition Yuzuru Hanyu.

Snowboarder Shaun White.

Shaun White’s main competition, Ayumu Hirano.

hen is set to bring home a higher medal this upcoming Olympic than the one he brought home in 2018, a bronze. He has been training proficiently for the past four years, continuing to hold his world champion and his US national champion titles. Yuzuru Hanyu, is the two time defending Olympic champion who will be coming back for his gold medal in Beijing against Chen.

For the upcoming days the eyes will be on both White and Chen to bring home olympic gold for the US against their toughest competition. Some of the other sports to keep watch on include pair skiing, bobsleigh (Jamaica), and the ice hockey teams.

The competition will start early with curling and ice hockey competing on Feb. 2, a day prior to the official opening ceremonies. Though Covid has not been the only worry among some countries, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia are examples of the diplomatic boycott towards China. The civil rights debate that China has been facing over the past two years helped make the decision for foregin diplomats to not personally attend the games in person. 

We’re not sending any political representation because of political differences such as concentration camps and LGBTQIA view

Rolland stated on the current diplomatic boycott

The games can be watched on NBC, USA, CNBC, the Olympic Channel, and Peacock streaming services.

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About the Contributor
Kayla Degnan, Sports Co-Director

Senior Kayla Degnan is in her third year of Crimson, being Sports Co-director. She hopes to grow her knowledge in sports while also giving athletes the appreciation that they have earned. Outside of Crimson she enjoys reading, writing, watching dance moms, and learning ASL. She is varsity cheer captain this year and participates in the varsity stunt team. She cannot wait for her final year of Crimson. Go Bearcats!

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