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Beijing is the first Olympic host to host winter games after summer games.

Picture: Michael Kappeler, dpa

Beijing is the first Olympic host to host winter games after summer games.

Picture: Michael Kappeler, dpa

Just under six months after the closing ceremony in Tokyo, on 4. February, the Olympic flame will be lit once again. In Beijing, the world’s best winter sportsmen compete on snow and ice.

China and winter sports – how Go to that together?

In 2008, Beijing was still the host of the Summer Games. Now the capital is the first metropolis to host the Winter Games. By 2025, the government wants to attract 300 million Chinese to winter sports and build a huge market for the industry. Numerous ski resorts and ice halls have been built throughout the country for this purpose. The Olympic competition venues in the mountains of Zhangjiakou and Yanqing were also prepared at great expense. A high-speed train covers the 200 kilometers to Beijing in 47 minutes. To ensure the sporting success of its team, China has hired a number of foreign coaches and launched massive programs to support young talent.

How much will China pay for the Games??

China’s President Xi Jinping has "simple games" promised. Officially, the budget is about 3.5 billion euros, which would be the lowest amount for Winter Games in about 20 years. However, many expenses such as the high investments for the new ski area and the construction of new railroad lines and roads are not included in the calculation. Some experts estimate that the total cost will be ten times that amount, even if some of the venues from the 2008 Summer Games are used again. The Olympic organizers hope to recoup some of the costs by selling apartments in the Olympic villages. On the other hand, the hoped-for income from ticket sales is likely to be largely cancelled out by the Corona pandemic.

How does Olympia fare in the midst of the omicron wave?

For China’s tough zero-covid strategy, the highly contagious virus variant is the absolute endurance test. The host country itself has so far managed the virus better than other countries. Therefore, it is imperative to avoid Olympic participants coming into contact with the Chinese population. The organizers have set up a closed circuit in which athletes, officials and helpers move as if in a parallel world. Rules of conduct for all participants are laid down in detailed manuals. Daily PCR tests and masks are mandatory. Infected must go to quarantine hotels. Foreign spectators are not allowed. Even in China there are no tickets on sale, only selected people are allowed in the stands.

Why is China so controversial as host?

Human rights violations in the treatment of Uyghurs and Tibetans, the suppression of the democracy movement in Hong Kong and threats against Taiwan – accusations against the rulers in Beijing abound. Environmentalists criticize the ostentatiousness of building the competition venues in the mountainous region and the waste of electricity and water for the snow cannons that have been running for weeks. The fact that a high-ranking official of the organizing committee is threatened with "punishment" in the event of criticism from among the athletes The threat of a new use of some of the venues caused additional irritation. When it came to awarding the Games, however, the International Olympic Committee had little choice, with only Almaty in authoritarian Kazakhstan as an alternative. Munich and a number of other applicants had prematurely withdrawn from the race for the 2022 Winter Games.

How many participants and competitions are there?

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Just under 2900 athletes from more than 90 nations are expected to take part, fewer than the record number of participants in Pyeongchang four years ago. 45 percent of them will be female, the highest proportion of women in Winter Games history, according to the IOC. 149 athletes are nominated for Germany, five less than in 2018. Medals will be awarded in 109 competitions, seven of which are new to the program: mixed events with male and female teams in ski jumping, snowboard cross, short track and ski freestyle jumping. In addition, women’s monobob and ski freestylers’ big air debuts.

When can German fans watch the competitions?

Due to the time difference of seven hours, especially fans of the alpine have to get up very early, also many medal decisions in figure skating, snowboarding and ski freestyle fall in the German night. On the other hand, viewers can tune in to the biathlon, ski jumping, cross-country skiing, the Nordic combined and the competitions on the ice channel in the morning and early afternoon, among others. The preliminary round games of the German ice hockey team start at 9.40 o’clock and 14.10 o’clock CET.

Who broadcasts Olympics on TV?

Olympic pictures can be seen at Eurosport, ARD and ZDF. Eurosport shows a total of 300 hours of live programming on free TV, plus all competitions are available with the Joyn Plus pay service. The public broadcasters alternate between up to 16 hours of live coverage daily, plus a total of 500 hours of livestreaming on six channels each. ARD and ZDF have obtained sublicenses from Eurosport’s parent Discovery, which owns the Olympic broadcast rights.

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