BEIJING (KXAN) — While the Olympics are always an unforgettable experience, in the age of COVID-19, they’re especially memorable.
With the spread of the coronavirus, all attendees — from athletes, coaches and staff to the journalists covering the Winter Games — are forced to live in a bubble in an effort to curb the spread.
“I’m not quite sure, like what day it is,” joked Mariah Bell, competing in the U.S. women’s figure skating team. Here’s a little insight into what’s being done to keep everyone safe.
A day in the bubble as a reporter
Each day begins with COVID-19 testing before anyone is permitted to leave their hotels. Then comes a round of checkpoints, where reporters’ credentials are checked and health screenings are verified.
Afterwards, journalists board Olympic-designated buses that take them within the closed-loop system, only stopping to and from essential locations.
Each day, journalists report to the International Media Broadcast Center, a secured work area that undergoes frequent sanitations and is never short of anything we need — namely, coffee.
For the athletes
Athletes are undergoing the same safety protocols, including KN95 masking, daily self-health screenings via an app as well as plenty of pressers leading up to the Opening Ceremony.
“I would say we’re a little paranoid,” added Vicky Persinger, a U.S. curler who also added “I’m super grateful that these games can still happen.”
But while many are grateful the Games can continue, that doesn’t mean it’s come without plenty of sacrifice. Chris Plys, a member of the U.S. Men’s curling team, said he began his quarantine back home around Christmas.
Of course, sacrifice isn’t something foreign to Olympians. The road to the Olympics, and their journey to gold, is paved with sacrifices.
We’ll be bringing you around-the-clock coverage live from here in Hollywood Squares to KXAN News and kxan.com. These are moments of a lifetime, and certainly ones none of us will forget.
“I’m at the Olympics, this is so cool,” Bell said.