The 2022 Winter Olympics kicked off on February 3, and it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. Athletes have complained about the safety level of conditions in Beijing, where below-freezing temperatures and icy artificial snow pose serious hazards. Not only are participants at risk of getting injured, but they run the risk of facing the anger of the Chinese government if they misspeak. With no natural snow, dangerous weather, and numerous human rights violations, was Beijing the best choice to host the Winter Games?
Summer Olympics are hosted in a country that experiences a warm climate during July and August. Rio, Brazil was chosen in 2016, and Tokyo, Japan hosted the delayed 2020 games last summer. Both regions were appropriately selected for the required temperatures for rugby, soccer, cycling, and other exciting outdoor sports. Yet the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose a city that experiences little to no snowfall for the Winter Olympics, something necessary for skiing and snowboarding.
Artificial snow was first used in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Since then, its use has grown. About 98% of the snow at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games in South Korea was artificial. In Beijing, 100% of all events are covered with fake snow. A machine uses air and water to create and distribute different kinds of snow dependent on each sport’s preference. However, some athletes have complained of the conditions. Estonia’s Johanna Talihärm says the machine-made stuff is “faster and more dangerous” because it is “icier.” Natural snow is only 30% ice and is much softer to fall on and ski through than the 70% ice artificial snow.
Since the competitors arrived at the Olympic Village at the beginning of the month, complaints have poured in. The Swedish delegation demanded cross-country skiing events be held in the morning to protect athletes from freezing temperatures. Swedish athlete Frida Karlsson collapsed at the end of her skiathlon and was shaking in the -23.8F wind.
Mikaela Shiffrin, United States Olympic gold medalist and icon, also commented about weather conditions. She said the layout was “the steepest terrain I’ve ever experienced in my life.” She also expressed concern over the strong gusts of wind that can make a run “very dangerous.” In the Giant Slalom, Shiffrin and several other female racers fell within the first few seconds of their runs, unusual for these professional athletes. They complained of the terrain being icy and that they were not allowed to practice and feel for the conditions as they usually do.
China, where 21 million residents have lived in a decades-long water scarcity crisis, will need more than 49 million gallons of water to supply enough snow. That’s enough for 800 Olympic swimming pools. Depending on how the games go and whether they experience warmer days, more may be needed to replace melting snow.
Slopes With Silos
Photos of the ski jump ramp in Beijing have raised eyebrows and questions of “is that a power plant?” In a district right outside the city, one of China’s most significant steel and iron mills used to sit in Shougang. It closed down in 2010 and has been repurposed. The backdrop of the ski jumps events is certainly unnatural, but it makes for unique photo-ops.
Before the Games kicked off, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refrained from wishing our athletes the best of luck and instead warned them. In testimony before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the speaker said: “I would say to our athletes – you are there to compete. Do not risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government because they are ruthless.” President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party are notorious for having no respect or regard for freedom of speech or fundamental human rights and displaying unpredictable behavior. However, that raises the question of whether we should have sent our athletes to a country like this to begin with.
China is actively enslaving and killing off the Uyghur ethnic community in the Xinjiang region. President Joe Biden, along with other world leaders, refused to send any official delegation to the games due to the human rights violations by the Chinese government. Pelosi also stated that the IOC had turned a blind eye to China’s human rights record at the commission’s hearing. The speaker doesn’t seem to think Beijing ever should have been selected to host such an important, symbolic international event. Perhaps, for once, Pelosi is right.
~Read more from Keelin Ferris.
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” "LN Readers Speak Out" feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.
Please respect our republishing guidelines. Republication permission does not equal site endorsement. Click here.
Liberty Nation Today:
A Sneak Peek
Fighting Authoritarianism in China and Iran - Tens of thousands of brave protesters have taken their discontent to the streets of China and Iran. - Read Now!
Texans Fight to Declare Border Crisis an Invasion - Some 40 counties are backing the invasion move, but do they have legal standing to do so? - Read Now!
Ukraine Today – Photos and Facts - The latest news and pictures from the Ukrainian front. - Read Now!
Georgia Runoff Victory for Raphael Warnock Caps GOP Implosion - An incompetent GOP establishment may be running out of excuses. - Read Now!
Biden Has Better Things to Do Than Visit the Border - Democrats will not talk about anything but all those Biden successes. - Read Now!