The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics feels distant, wrong, and inconsequential.
Now, it just feels bizarre.
The women’s hockey match between Russia and Canada was delayed nearly 65 minutes due to the Canadian team refusing to leave the locker room as Russia’s day-before COVID-19 tests had yet to be processed. Both teams eventually reached an agreement in order to take the ice, with both hockey teams playing in N95 masks for the majority of the game.
The Candians won 6-1, and wore their masks for the entirety of the game, while the Russian squad removed their masks at the start of the third period after their COVID-19 test results were returned.
“With a view to ensure full understanding of the teams about the health and safety measures in place, the start of the preliminary round game between Canada and ROC was delayed by an hour,” the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said in a statement.
“Out of caution and concern for the health and safety of the players, the IIHF agreed with the participating teams to play with masks on,” the statement continued.
Last week, Russia’s women’s hockey team was hit with a COVID-19 outbreak, with six players being forced to quarantine after testing positive for the virus.
“We aren’t in contact with anyone in the Olympic Village,” Russian head coach Evgeny Bobariko said. “Nobody goes anywhere.”
“Everyone sits in their rooms, food is brought to them,” he continued. “We only leave our rooms to get tested. We are not allowed to use the elevator, everyone goes down using the stairs.”
In October, organizers of the Winter Games announced that athletes will be in a “closed loop” in order to allow the games to go on without a hiccup.
“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.
Testing was required before athletes arrived in Beijing, and participants are also subject to daily testing throughout their time in China.
“We want everyone at the Games to be safe, that’s why we’re asking all participants to follow these guidelines,” IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said in a statement.
With the win, Canada improved to 3-0 in Group A play, while Russia fell to 1-2.
“Russia’s results from this morning weren’t back in yet,” Canada forward Natalie Spooner said before the game.
“I know in the past few days they’ve had a few positives and we just wanted to make sure their results came back and we were safe to play,” Spooner continued.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.