The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will mirror the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with the roar of thousands of fans noticeably absent.
On Monday, the organizing committee announced that the original plan to offer event tickets to the general public has been scrapped, with tickets now being offered to “selected groups.”
“Given the difficult and complicated work of controlling the epidemic, and to protect the health and safety of those involved with the Games, the original plan of offering tickets to the general public has been altered toward spectators from selected groups,” the statement said.
Beijing already announced that international fans will not be allowed to attend the Games, and announced in October that athletes will be in a “closed loop,” isolated from the rest of society.
“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 will be required before athletes arrive in Beijing, and participants will also be 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.
“Keeping everyone healthy will ensure the focus remains on the very fundamentals of the Olympic and Paralympic Games — the athletes and the sport.”
Athletes and team officials must be fully vaccinated in order to avoid a 21-day quarantine.
COVID-19 has already impacted one event with the National Hockey League (NHL) announcing in December that they will not be sending their athletes to compete in Beijing due to having to postpone over 50 games as COVID-19 outbreaks hit NHL locker rooms.
“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,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “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.”
Bettman said the league will look toward participation in the 2026 Winter Olympics, but focus will be on finishing the current NHL regular season as COVID-19 issues continue to arise.
This will be the second consecutive Olympics in which NHL players will not participate, with NHL players not taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics due to not wanting to disrupt the 2017-2018 NHL regular season. The Olympic rosters will now be made up of amateur players and professional players from leagues other than the NHL.
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 protected].
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