Exclusive: Beijing 2022 COVID-19 management to be benchmark for all global sporting events as pandemic continues: IOC member
Published: Feb 17, 2022 01:24 AM
William Frederick Blick

William Frederick Blick

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are coming to a conclusion, and many moments have conveyed the true spirit of the Olympics to inspire athletes around the world. And for some IOC members, the Beijing Games are considered as special forever amid the rising challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

William Frederick Blick, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that the management at the Beijing Games in fending off the risks of the pandemic will be a benchmark for all international sporting events in the future. 

These competitions have been very well organized under very difficult circumstances, and the venues and facilities are great, "in fact the best I have seen!" Blick told the Global Times via email. 

On Tuesday, he shared pictures of the ­Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Center on his Twitter account, describing it as a "fantastic skiing resort." He also visited the Great Wall, saying that "it is an incredible piece of architecture," and he took a high-speed bullet train connecting different Olympic zones, which he applauded as "impressive transportation." 

"The people are very polite and very welcoming. I really enjoy the Chinese food. These games will forever be special as they have brought the whole world together during a pandemic. This is proof that sports can unite the world during very different circumstances," said the IOC member, who was also the former president of Uganda Olympic Committee. 

By hosting two Olympic Games in the space of 14 years, Beijing has ­become the world's first dual Olympic city. Blick praised such an Olympic legacy as fantastic, saying that China is the best example of hard work being able to deliver a world-class event under very difficult circumstances, and "Beijing has really transformed to become a cosmopolitan city welcoming the entire globe."

China is fulfilling its commitment to hosting a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games, according to Chinese officials.

"The international community is seeing a crescendo of recognition and praise of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games. Many political figures in the world have noted that Beijing 2022 will help to demonstrate humanity's resilience, solidarity and pursuit of happiness, and stands as a vivid example of the Olympic spirit of 'togetherness,'" Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, said at a press briefing.

Blick noted that the closed-loop management and China's efforts in containing sporadic ­COVID-19 cases are professional. 

"This ­COVID-19 games management by China will be a benchmark for all international sports and non-sporting events" as the pandemic continues, the IOC member said. 

China's well-orchestrated COVID-19 prevention policies have not only staved off major infections within the closed loop which is hosting more than 15,000 people from all over the world, but have also won kudos from a wide range of participants, who hailed the loop as the "world's safest place."

Although a widely shared recognition of the successful Games triumphed over the past few weeks, there had been voices led by some Western politicians calling for a "diplomatic boycott" of the Games. In the eyes of the IOC member, the "boycotting" campaign is irrelevant and has turned out to have no impact on the Beijing Games. 

"I have seen athletes mixing with each other showing great friendship and respect," Blick said. 

The IOC member also said he enjoyed the short-track speed skating and ice hockey matches, as he also has a special attachment to hockey as his mother played it for Uganda. 

"I was happy to support Trinidad and Tobago and Team Saudi athletes who were competing for the very first time. They were my favorite athletes," he said.