Winter Olympics too cold say athletes

With the winter Olympics in full swing reports are coming in from athletes who say that the events are too cold, with some competitions being run in temperatures of minus 20 and lower. There are also many complaints that the food provided is unacceptable and not suitable for athletes.  
With the first week over the complaints are beginning to roll in from athletes and team managers regarding the venues, accommodation and food on offer in the Chinese capital’s winter Olympics village.
Members of the German Olympic team have been less than impressed with the food they have been provided ahead of various alpine events, prompting Christian Schwaiger, coach of the country’s skiing team, to go public with his complaints.
“The catering is extremely questionable because really it’s not catering at all,” he said.
“I’d have expected that the Olympic Committee would be capable of providing hot meals. There are no hot meals. There are crisps, some nuts and chocolate and nothing else. This shows a lack of focus on high-performance sport.”
The United States as always have come prepared reportedly bringing their own food, making sure they weren’t reliant on what was on offer.
The Swedish team have also lodged complaints saying that the cross-country skiing events were scheduled for too late in the day, forcing athletes to compete in sub-zero conditions and harsh winds, with some temperatures said to have dropped as low as -20C.
“We have the cold limits we have, there is not much to say about that. I do not know if they also measure the wind effect,” said Anders Bystroem of the Swedish team.
“If [the International Ski Federation] says it’s minus 17 degrees and it’s windy, and it’s minus 35 degrees with the wind chill, what do you do then?
“The women’s skiathlon on Saturday at 4pm and Frida Karlsson was completely destroyed by the cold. It’s not good that the sprint starts even later.
“We have talked in the team about making a request (to race earlier) during the day if it’s possible. At the same time I don’t think it will be possible to change the time because of the Olympic schedule.”
The main complaints are that some events have been scheduled at time unsuitable for European television audiences, while offers have been arranged for times that are totally impractical given local conditions.
There has also been rancour related to the isolation guidelines athletes are being faced with if they test positive for Covid-19 inside the Olympic Village, or upon arrival in China. Athletes who are asymptomatic are required to visit a designated hotel for quarantine until they submit two negative tests on successive days. One of those Russian biathlon star Valeria Vasnetsova wrote on social media that the food being delivered to her in quarantine is entirely insufficient.
“I’m very pale and I have huge black circles around my eyes. I want all this to end. I cry every day. I’m very tired,” she wrote, also adding that the food she has been served has been giving her stomach cramps.
Noting the growing resentment at the conditions in Bejing, the IOC issued a statement to say that they have taken on board the complaints from various teams, but that Olympic quarantine policies are being adhered to strictly.
“We are aware of the complaints raised by some athletes, particularly with regard to 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 feel for every athlete who cannot compete because of a Covid-19 infection.
“The protocols have been put in place to ensure safe Olympic Games for everyone. All the cases are managed in full accordance with the rules stated in the Playbooks and in the adjustments which were made to the protocols.”
The Olympic games is all about the athletes and for them to be complaining that it is too cold and that the food is unsuitable for peak performance, will be viewed by many as simply unacceptable.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]