A number of athletes at the Beijing Olympics have complained that the food is inappropriate and that the events are too cold, according to reports
With the Beijing Games now in full swing and the first round of events well and truly underway, it has not taken much for a number of athletes in the Olympic Village to speak out against some of the conditions they face in the Chinese capital – Some even complain that the event is too cold.
According to reports from the UK, members of the German Olympic team have been less than impressed by the food they have been offered ahead of various alpine events, prompting Christian Schwaiger, coach of the country’s ski team, to go public with his complaints.
“Cating is extremely questionable because it is not really catering at all,” he said.
“I expected the Olympic Committee to be able to provide hot meals. There are no hot meals. There are chips, some nuts and chocolate and nothing else. This shows a lack of focus on high-performance sports.”
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However, the US team has reportedly come prepared for such a problem and arrived in Beijing with their own food – such as freeze-dried pasta – so that they would not be completely dependent on the hosts’ catering.
Another separate complaint was made known by the Swedish team who moaned to Olympic managers that the cross-country skiing events were planned for late in the day, which forced athletes to compete in minus degrees and strong winds – with certain temperatures said to have dropped as low as -20C.
“We have the cooling limits we have, there is not much to say about it. I do not know if they also measure the wind effect”, says Anders Bystroem in the Swedish team.
“If [the International Ski Federation] says it’s -17 degrees and it’s windy, and it’s -35 degrees with the wind chill, what do you do then?
“The women’s skiathlon last Saturday at 4 pm and Frida Karlsson was completely destroyed by the cold. It is not good that the sprint starts even later.
“We have talked in the team about making a request (to compete earlier) during the day if possible. At the same time, I do not think it will be possible to change the time due to the Olympic schedule.”
The main complaint among teams like the Swedes is that certain events have been planned to take place at a time that is suitable for the TV audience in Europe – but at a time that is completely impractical for the local elements.
There has also been anger related to the isolation guidelines that athletes are faced with if they test positive for Covid-19 in the Olympic Village, or on arrival in China. Athletes who are asymptomatic must visit a designated hotel for quarantine until they submit two negative tests in a row on consecutive days – with the Russian biathlon star Valeria Vasnetsova writing on social media that the food delivered to her in quarantine is completely inadequate.
“I am very pale and have huge black circles around my eyes. I want all this to end. I cry every day. I am very tired,” she wrote, adding that the food she has been served has given. her stomach ache.
The IOC noted the growing resentment over conditions in Beijing and issued a statement saying they had received complaints from various teams – but that the Olympic quarantine policies were strictly followed.
“We are aware of the complaints from some athletes, especially regarding food temperature, variety and portion size,” they wrote.
“The issues are currently being addressed together with Beijing 2022 and the respective management of the facilities concerned. We know of every athlete who is unable to compete due to a Covid-19 infection.
“The protocols have been put in place to ensure safe Olympic Games for all. All matters are handled in full accordance with the rules set out in Playbooks and in the adjustments made in the protocols.”