WINTER OLYMPICS

The Olympic Flame ceremony is coming, is Beijing ready?

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The Olympic Flame ceremony of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games will be held at the ancient site of Olympia in Greece this Monday, October 18, and will be handed over to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Winter Olympics at a ceremony in the Panathenaic Stadium in Greece on Tuesday, October 19.

During the ceremony, the Olympic flame will be carried by several torchbearers to Athens after being ignited by sunlight at the ancient site of Olympia, where they will spend the night at the Acropolis. The torch will be handed over afterwards on October 19.

As the coronavirus pandemic is still raging around the world, the Hellenic Olympic Committee announced on September 22 that the two ceremonies – at Olympia and the Panathenaic Stadium – will both be held without spectators, and only official personnel are allowed to enter. There are 200 people in total, including the International Olympic Committee, the Hellenic and Chinese Olympic Committees.

According to reports, the torch will be directly transported to Beijing by plane after it has been handed over in the stadium.

The torch of the postponed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics was also lit on the ancient Olympia ruins without spectators and sent to Japan in the same way.

Both China and Greece have a long history of brilliant civilizations and records of exchanges. Due to the epidemic, recent cultural exchange activities between China and Greece were conducted remotely through the Internet. For example, the highly regarded “China-Greek Culture and Tourism Year” event on September 16 was held in the form of video-conferences. During the event, the prime ministers of the two countries made speeches through video-conference.

The epidemic has severely affected the tourism industry that Greece is proud of and relies on. Greece hopes to continue attracting tourists from around the world, including tourists from the People’s Republic of China, while complying with the epidemic measures.

The event of the “China-Greek Year of Culture and Tourism” shows the will of two countries to strengthen cooperation in culture and tourism.

Next year sees the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Greece, and it is believed that the relations between the two countries will rise to a new height…

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on September 17 that strict epidemic control measures will be implemented during the Winter Olympics in Beijing, to ensure the safety of all participants and related personnel.

IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement: “The pandemic is not over yet, so we want to assure athletes that we will do everything we can to organize a Winter Olympics safely for everyone…”

He mentioned the Summer Olympics held in Tokyo this year: “Just like in Japan, we will cooperate with China’s health authorities to ensure a smooth progress of the Olympics.”

In Tokyo, there were many regulations for athletes. They were tested for the coronavirus every day and could only go out at a specified time. Those who tested positive were forced to quarantine for 10 days.

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In Beijing, the venues are ready. At the beginning of this month, a series of test events were held at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games venues, such as the “Ice Ribbon” competition held at the National Speed Skating Stadium, with speed skaters from China, the Netherlands and South Korea participating. The Dutch speed skating level is world-famous. That was the first test event. The final preparations for the Winter Olympics and other test matches will be done one after another.

In terms of epidemic prevention, the Beijing Winter Olympics Committee also took a series of measures, by forming a special Beijing Winter Olympics Epidemic Prevention and Control Office and issuing the “Epidemic Prevention Manual”. The host of the Beijing Olympic Games have notified the International Olympic Committee Executives about manual instructions so that the Winter Olympics and Paralympics will be held “on schedule, safely and successfully”. The manual and measures have been approved and announced by the International Olympic Committee.

The International Olympic Committee stated on September 29 that the Beijing Winter Olympics will only be open to spectators in mainland China who meet the conditions for prevention and control. Athletes who have not been vaccinated must undergo a 21-day quarantine before the Olympics.

Around the various events, a “bubble” will be created for the athletes and they cannot leave. Everyone in the “bubble” is tested every day. The athletes are transferred from the hotel to the training and competition venues by special transportation.

After the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics in July which did not allow spectator admission due to the pandemic prevention measures, the International Olympic Committee welcomed China’s decision to open spectators admission. The International Olympic Committee said: “This will promote the development of winter sports in China and bring a good atmosphere to the venues.”

This is also good news for broadcast-rights holders and sponsors. In the reports of the Tokyo Olympics, the background of the screen is an empty stand.

Under strict measures, the epidemic situation in China has been under control basically. Although news of the infection has been spread from time to time, compared with the epidemic data of many countries in the world, figures of China seem to be unable to become news material. At present, the anti-epidemic measures in China are largely focused on preventing the import of viruses.

The economic development of China is worthy of the attention of Greece and the world. After the Summer Olympics being hosted in Beijing successfully in 2008, the hosting of the Winter Olympics again fully demonstrated China’s economic strength.

Τhe opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics will be another visual feast.

The Winter Games 2022 will be held from February 4 to 20 in Beijing, Zhangjiakou and Yanqing.