Thomas Bach: Winter Games will “definitely” happen in Beijing

For IOC President Thomas Bach, canceling the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing is clearly out of the question, despite a rapidly expanding Omicron version. The competitions from February 4 to February 20 will “definitely happen”, the 68-year-old said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag and corrected his belief with China’s zero-Covid policy (“very, very strict and strict”). ordained. At the same time, the President of the International Olympic Committee affirmed the fact that the conditions in trial competitions, some of which were considered ineligible by athletes, were not a bad foreshadowing of the Games. “It was sometimes overshot, and not all protocols for the Games were implemented, but strict rules,” assured the fencing Olympic champion since 1976. The problems were addressed by the IOC: “The measures criticized will be corrected.”

Waiting times have been reduced, and “anyone who tests positive but is asymptomatic has to go to hospital”, but can quarantine “at a suitable hotel”. According to Bach, compared to the Summer Games in Tokyo, the measures are “tougher on the one hand”, but working within this closed circle would be “more careless on the other”.

The second big issue in advance is the boycott call by several NGOs. So far only a few governments have followed suit, including the United States and Great Britain, which shun the Games at the diplomatic level. This accepted Bach, to whom the attitude of the athletes is anyway at the fore. “If an athlete decides not to participate, this individual decision has to be respected. But we are not afraid of that,” the IOC chief said.

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Bach once again underlined the political neutrality of the Rings organization: “Our job, our mission is to bring together people from all over the world with the Olympic Games. We cannot do this if we take a political position, a political stand.” take and kill like this athletes out different countries.” Asked whether awarding the Winter Games to China in 2015 was a mistake, the lawyer replied bluntly: “At that time, the world community sided with China in all areas. It does in the area today.”

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