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One Year from Winter Olympics, Skiers Compete for Spots Amid Uncertainty

IOC President says he is confident China will ensure safe and secure Olympic Games

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The 2022 Winter Olympics are set to open in Beijing in one year, on Feb. 4, 2022. In a public video address, IOC President Thomas Bach today formally invited winter sports athletes to participate in next year’s Games.

“Having seen how China is overcoming the coronavirus crisis, we are very confident that our Chinese hosts will ensure safe and secure Olympic Games in full cooperation with the IOC,” says Bach.

China reported the fewest number of new COVID-19 cases for a single day in more than a month, official data showed on Wednesday. The total number of COVID-19 cases reported in mainland China now stands at 89,619, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,636.

“Every time that I have visited China, I am so impressed by the enthusiasm and support for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022,” says Bach. “This is why we can say already now with great confidence: China is ready. Ready to welcome the world’s best winter sports athletes for an unforgettable Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. We all are looking forward to this global celebration of sport.”

However, earlier this week, 180 human rights groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians, residents of Hong Kong, and others called for a boycott of the Olympic Games due to reports of human rights violations against ethnic minorities in China.

According to reporting by the AP, human rights groups have previously asked the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee to move the games from China. The Committee, however, says it’s only a sporting body that does not get involved with politics in host countries.

The human rights groups say it now falls on governments of countries around the world to “push back against China’s reprehensible human rights abuses.”

Meanwhile, the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International FIS Ski World Cup at Deer Valley Resort this week is the first Olympic tryout event for any U.S. Ski Team athlete across any discipline. The event is closed to spectators due to COVID-19.

In Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, the U.S. Alpine Ski Team is preparing to compete at the 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships February 8-21, led by defending slalom and super-G World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin and four-time World Cup podium finisher this season, Breezy Johnson.