Beijing Olympics stalked by politics, doping scandal set to shut

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Beijing arms the Olympic flag to Milan-Cortina on Sunday after a Video games that will likely be remembered for the extremes of its anti-COVID-19 measures and outrage over the doping scandal that enveloped 15-year-old Russian skating sensation Kamila Valieva. 

The Olympics had been stalked by politics, with a number of nations staging a diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record, and the spectre of invasion of Ukraine by Russia, with President Vladimir Putin attending the opening ceremony in a present of solidarity in opposition to the West with President Xi Jinping.

Nonetheless, China was spared any embarrassing protests by rivals over its therapy of the Uyghur Muslim minority or anything, and the hundreds of international journalists available had been caught contained in the closed-loop, unable to report extra extensively.

The tightly sealed bubble prevented the unfold of the novel coronavirus on the Olympics or into the group, vindicating a zero-COVID coverage that has remoted China inside what are almost closed borders that exhibits no signal of easing.

Nonetheless, many athletes had their Olympic desires dashed by optimistic assessments that prevented them from competing, and dozens noticed their preparations disrupted by enforced isolation. Staff officers and athletes demanded improved situations together with higher meals, web, coaching gear and extra space.

On the snow, 18-year-old San Francisco-born freestyle skier Eileen Gu gained two golds and a silver for hosts China, delivering on the hype generated by her dozens of endorsement offers and making her the youthful face of the Video games at the same time as her success raised questions on nationality and privilege.

Gu’s efficiency is a boon for the event of snow sports activities in China. Xi, who will attend Sunday evening’s closing ceremony on the Fowl’s Nest stadium, hopes that internet hosting the Video games will get 300 million folks concerned in winter sports activities.

China’s 9 gold medals exceeded expectations, placing it in third place, whereas winter sports activities powerhouse Norway, with a inhabitants of simply 5.5 million, gained a file 16.

Whereas Xi delivered a spectacle for a Chinese language public that was unable to attend – tickets weren’t bought and plenty of linked with the Olympics via the sudden mania for panda mascot Bing Dwen Dwen – tens of millions of People tuned out, with TV viewership reported to be far decrease than throughout the 2018 Pyeongchang Video games.

Doping scandal

The most important legacy of the Beijing Olympics would be the controversy surrounding Valieva, who stumbled below stress in her ultimate skate, and the outrage directed in the direction of Russian sports activities officers and the nation’s historical past of doping, which meant its athletes couldn’t compete below Russia’s flag.

Valieva failed a doping check at her nationwide championships in December however the outcome was solely revealed on Feb. 8, a day after she had helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win the workforce occasion.

She was nonetheless allowed to take part within the singles however completed fourth, her error-strewn efficiency prompting a harsh response from her coach Eteri Tutberidze that Worldwide Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach later mentioned he discovered “chilling”.

The saga, which dominated the Video games, reopened debate over the suitability of the Olympic surroundings for minors and prompted the world’s high anti-doping authority to research Valieva’s entourage.

The Beijing Video games had been the second Olympics of the COVID-19 period and likewise the second in simply six months, after the Tokyo Summer time Video games had been delayed by a yr.

Earlier than Milan-Cortina stage the Winter Video games in 2026, Paris hosts the 2024 Summer time Video games, with Tony Estanguet, president of Paris 2024, promising an Olympic “mild on the finish of the tunnel”.

(REUTERS)

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