Olympics return to Beijing


Courtesy of stux on Pixabay

The winter Olympics are being held in Beijing China this year. The games start on Feb. 4 and end on Feb. 20.

Almost 14 years have passed since the historical 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing that saw athletes like Michael Phelps claim eight gold medals and Usain Bolt and Shawn Johnson storm onto the world stage.

As the Olympics return to Beijing for winter competition, the games’ historical significance is set to repeat itself thanks to the ongoing pandemic. Just this past summer, the 2020 Summer Olympics, held in Tokyo, were successfully completed after being postponed one year due to the pandemic.

Olympic athletes will still be held to strict protocols, completing daily PCR testing, masking, and social distancing, while fans from outside of China will be barred from attending events.

Along with the cost of COVID-19 on athletes and fans also comes the cost of running the games. According to official reports from the Chinese government, this year’s games cost $3.9 billion — the cheapest Olympic games in the last 20 years. The reports draw some doubt despite the reuse of many facilities from 2008.

A recent investigative article published by Business Insider estimates that the total cost of this year’s games could be 10 times more than initially reported, due to China writing off infrastructure and facility improvements as capital improvements even though they directly affect the experience of the games.

The games also come at a time when tensions between world superpowers are at some of the highest points in recent memory. Russia and the United States are currently engaged in a Cold War-like standoff over a possible invasion of Ukraine. The United States and Ukraine believe that Russia is preparing to invade their neighbors to the south as a result of Ukraine’s interest in working with European countries and members of NATO. Russia denies any plans of invading Ukraine.

All the while, the games are being hosted by a superpower itself in China.

COVID-19, Cold War 2.0, China — an intriguing backdrop to what will surely make for an exciting winter Olympics.

The 2022 Winter Olympics will commence on Feb. 4 and the closing ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 20. Events can be watched using providers that carry NBC, CNBC and the USA Network.