Disappointing for many, but perhaps not unexpected – the organizers of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympics Games stated yesterday, January 17, that tickets for the events would not go on sale to the general public.
Instead, tickets would be issued to certain spectators as part of an “adapted program,” as reported by Xinhua.
Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 was cited as the reason for the new ticket policy.
The news comes despite a previous announcement in September of 2021, which stated that, while spectators would not be permitted to travel from outside the Chinese mainland to attend the Games, tickets would be sold to those residing in the Chinese mainland who met relevant COVID-19 prevention requirements.
So, who exactly is included in this “adapted program?”
As of press time, the details are a little unclear. That’s Mandarin, a Chinese language school based in Shanghai, told That’s that the wording of the official policy statement in Chinese was somewhat open-ended.
They said that the statement made clear that spectators would be “targeted” groups of people and those who met COVID-19 prevention requirements.
Among others, this may include representatives from Beijing government organizations and state-owned companies; according to COVID-19 prevention rules, said individuals are restricted in terms of leaving Beijing and would therefore, likely pose a reduced risk regarding COVID-19.
However, at this point in time we can only speculate as to who exactly is included.
What we know for certain is that ordinary members of the public will not be able to buy tickets.
Many That’s readers expressed their disappointment. American national Michelle, who requested we only use her first name, said she had hoped to see figure skating and speed skating.
Other readers in Beijing were likewise frustrated that tickets would not be available. In the That’s Beijing WeChat groups, many readers said they had hoped to see ice hockey, skating events and biathlon, amongst others.
As with the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, the ugly shadow of COVID-19 hangs over Beijing 2022. All those involved in the Games are operating in a closed-loop environment to help prevent the spread of the virus, while China battles COVID-19 outbreaks in a number of places.
Assuming international travel is back to normal by 2026, maybe you could save your money for a trip to Milan?
[Cover image via Pexels]