Dhe German Olympic team in Beijing has its second corona case. One of the 85 members of the team who entered China on Tuesday had tested positive for the virus, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) announced on Wednesday. The DOSB initially did not want to say whether it was an athlete or a supervisor. The affected team member is symptom-free and has to move to a quarantine hotel. Depending on the result of the further test, “the further procedure will be determined,” it said. A few days ago, a German supervisor in the Zhangjiakou mountain region was diagnosed with a corona infection.
Meanwhile, Axel Jungk is allowed to travel to Beijing. After a positive corona finding, the skeleton from Oberbärenburg now has the necessary negative PCR tests and can take part in the Winter Olympics. “Better late than never,” he posted on Instagram. After two emotionally difficult weeks, he is now “just in the mood for everything that is to come,” he continued. The official training on the Olympic track in Yanqing does not start until February 7th. Like Hannah Neise, Jungk tested positive after the World Cup final in St. Moritz. Both are fully vaccinated. Neise was able to travel to Beijing on Saturday as planned after her negative tests. Jungk is now expected in the Olympic city on Thursday.
Norway’s ski jumpers Daniel-André Tande and Johann André Forfang, on the other hand, will miss the upcoming Olympic singles in Beijing at the weekend due to the corona. “The two are approaching the necessary value of 35. They can’t make it on the normal hill,” said head coach Alexander Stöckl. Both athletes tested positive for the corona virus in January and could not test negative in time this week to deposit the four PCR tests required for entering China. On Saturday (7:20 a.m.) the qualification awaits at the new facility in Zhangjiakou, on Sunday (12:00 p.m.) the final.
Even in the event of increasing corona numbers at the Olympics, the IOC does not want to set a limit for terminating the Winter Games. “We don’t set any thresholds. It’s also not just about the numbers, it’s also about the extent to which cases are related within the bladder,” said Brian McCloskey, head of the Medical Expert Committee. So far, there have been no related cases in the corona bubble before the games started.
National cross-country coach Peter Schlickenrieder, on the other hand, can imagine that races will be postponed because of the cold. “Officially, the limit at which a race has to be canceled or postponed is minus 20 degrees. I don’t think we’ll crack them. But it can happen.” However, the 51-year-old assumes that the freezing temperatures will not be the biggest problem. Instead, the sometimes strong wind is a particular challenge. Icy conditions prevailed on the new Olympic trails in Zhangjiakou in the first few days.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) virtually rules out manipulation of doping samples in the control laboratory at the Winter Games in Beijing. “We have learned, we also have observers in the laboratory and we have a new supplier of the sample vials,” said Wada Director General Olivier Niggli in China’s capital. At the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the Russian hosts exchanged samples from their athletes in the control laboratory by opening the vials to cover up doping. For the first time, the blood drop method (dried blood spot) will be used extensively in doping tests at the Beijing Games. Blood drops are dried on filter paper and then analyzed. There was initially a pilot project at the Summer Games in Tokyo.
Olympic torch relay begins in Beijing
The torch relay in Beijing began on Wednesday, two days before the opening of the Winter Olympics. In front of a few hundred spectators, the first runners started at the forest park north of the Olympic site in the Chinese capital. The first torch bearer was the first Chinese world speed skating champion in 1963, Luo Zhihan, who then passed the torch to Chinese astronaut Jing Haipeng. Because of the corona pandemic, the torch relay will only take place to a limited extent and under strict precautionary measures. Over three days, the Olympic flame will be carried from Beijing to the other two venues in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou just outside the capital, before returning to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Games on Friday.
The German Sports Aid announced that, as in previous years, they would reward an Olympic victory at the Winter Games in Beijing with a bonus of 20,000 euros. Silver and gold are rewarded with 15,000 and 10,000 euros respectively. Tiered bonuses of 5,000 to 1,500 euros are also paid for reaching ranks four to eight.
Claudia Pechstein will even start twice at her eighth Olympic Winter Games. In addition to the mass start race, the 49-year-old Berliner also competes in the 3,000 meters. This was confirmed by Nadine Seidenglanz, Sports Director of the German Speed Skating and Short Track Association (DESG). The five-time Olympic champion Pechstein will already complete her first competition in the National Speed Skating Oval on Saturday, one day after the opening ceremony, for which she will be the German flag bearer. Originally, the most successful German Winter Olympian only qualified for the mass start on February 19th.
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