China considers its Olympic mission accomplished

  • The Asian country closes the Winter Olympics satisfied with having kept the threat of covid and the diplomatic boycott at bay

  • Norway finishes at the top of the medal table, ahead of Germany and the hosts, where an unprecedented snow sports fever has been generated

China fastened with the fireworks, non-negotiable in his cradle, a few Winter Olympic Games As strange as these times. Thomas Bach, IOC Presidentalluded to the pandemic and convulsive context in his final speech, thanking China for daring with the coronavirus still punishing the world and calling on world leaders to “give him a chance at peace“. It is not certain that these Games are the best in history, but few have come out ahead with such demanding challenges.

At the opening, two weeks ago, it was discussed whether the country that has sublimated the zero tolerance against the pandemic It would come out unscathed from the concentration of people arriving from latitudes with massive contagions. china designed a bubble for the thousands of participants with strict measures that included daily PCR tests and the mandatory use of masks, except in rooms and dining rooms. The protocol has normalized the officials in the headquarters with full protection suits that squeak in a sports box.

400 positives detected

China was breathing easy this Sunday. Checks upon arrival made it possible to detect more than 400 positives that were quickly isolated and have allowed some games without covid. The authorities have also prevented the virus from leaving the closed circuit and reaching the local population, the main concern in a country that closes cities for half a dozen cases.

The boycott There has been no talk since the Games began. The United States and its allies had aired it months ago, but the threat did not transcend the fuss. The diplomatic, not sporting, boycott of four countries only generated the Chinese tantrum and its regrets for the politicization of sport. The event, however, has not been able to abstract itself from the geopolitical tide. The front pages of the first day were monopolized by the joint statement by Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, presidents of China and Russia, and the media spotlights in the last two weeks have paid less attention to the Games than to the imminent invasion of Ukraine, announced a thousand times from Washington and never materialized.

600 million Chinese viewers

From the sports chapter it is worth mentioning Norway’s medal lead, followed by Germany and a surprising China. There were justified doubts that a country without a tradition in winter sports could offer a solvent result and even fears that it would sink into ridicule, but it has completed your best share, generating an unprecedented snow fever. Almost 600 million Chinese, 40% of its population, had tuned in to public television last week to watch some event, according to the IOC. Not even the drop in interest in the US has prevented these from being The most watched Winter Olympics in history.

These two weeks have left a couple of young celebrities with the potential to drag the masses. Su Yiming, 17 years old and an actor in his childhood, has been crowned in snowboarding. And no one has generated more noise than Eileen Gu. His three medals, two of them gold, only partially explain the social phenomenon. Gu was born and raised in the US but enlisted in the Chinese ranks for the Games and has occupied, despite herself, the center of debate in a polarized world: the snow princess in China and an ungrateful traitor for the most troglodyte sectors Americans.

Valieva, the villain

The villainy, essential in any sports story, has also fallen to the Russian Kamila Valeva. The 15-year-old skater has resurrected the black legend of Moscow with doping. Her soap opera, stuffed with unlikely excuses and preventive protocol rinses, ended with the persistent falls in Friday’s final that deprived her of the podium.

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China closes its most delicate Games with the satisfaction of the mission accomplished. In the midst of the coronavirus, with a couple of shining stars and an industry as virgin as it is promising, a meritorious result and without allusions of the sports guild to its abuses in Xinjiang. That tranquility transpired at the closing ceremony, with no more surprises than that of the Samoan Nathan Crumpton defying the Beijing winter bare-chested again.

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