Beijing 2022 begins amid controversy


Sunny Lee, Reporter

Having been only six months since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Beijing Winter Olympics is taking place from Feb. 4-20. There are over 2900 athletes from 90 countries participating. 

Similar to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, no international spectators are allowed to attend and fewer world leaders are attending the games due to COVID-19 concerns. Government representatives of Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States will not be in Beijing in a diplomatic human rights boycott. 

“Last year, I wished there was a ‘normal’ Olympics with thousands of spectators in the audience seat,” Katie Lee (12), an audience member of the Pyeongchang Olympics, said. “However, due to the variant, I was unable to attend any in-person events which I believe downplayed the spirit of the games.” 

 The Olympics are hosted at Beijing, Zhangjiakou, and Yanqing. This unprecedented three-zone system focuses on developing sustainable facilities that could be used after the games end. All venues will be powered by renewable energy, and the staff opted to rent equipment rather than to purchase it. 

The distant nature of stadiums also causes struggles for athletes. South Korean athletes staying in Zhangjiakou, which hosts snowboard and biathlon events, chose not to attend the opening ceremonies due to possible preparation disruptions as traveling between venues is time consuming. Rather, they focused on getting ready for the games mentally and physically. 

“Although the placement of venues can cause inconvenience for athletes, I believe it was smart of China to try to not concentrate the population into one area,” Clair Kang (10), sports fanatic, said. “In terms of disease decontamination, the facilities should be more spread out.” 

Along with concerns regarding the placement of venues, many raised concerns about the fairness of the games. On Feb.7, the Men’s 1000m semi finals took place. One South Korean short track skater got injured and two others were disqualified. As the judgements seemed evidently biased to favor Chinese athletes, citizens felt outrage. 

Since South Korea had a successful short track history in the Olympics, media and citizens had anticipated one or two gold medals, causing tones of indignation in news media and citizens reporting on this potentially biased disqualification.

“News media from all over the world acknowledged the biased judgements,” Brian Lee (12), an avid sports fan, said. “The ones who benefited most from the penalty were Chinese athletes, and the advantage is too evident in all cases to call it a coincidence. I wish the International Olympic Committee would reassess the fairness of the games.”