The Winter Olympics are in full swing, with the sports extravaganza set to run until Feb. 20.
Beijing makes history as the first city to host both the summer and winter editions of the Olympics. But the event has been dogged by controversy. The U.S. and a handful of allies launched a diplomatic boycott over China’s rights record, and the highly transmissible omicron coronavirus variant tests Beijing’s bid to put on a safe event.
The drumbeat of war also hangs over the two-week sports showcase as China throws its diplomatic weight behind Moscow just as Washington warns that Russia is readying to invade Ukraine, setting up a clash of the superpowers.
For all our coverage, visit our Beijing Winter Olympics page.
Read our in-depth coverage:
– Skater Nathan Chen breaks Yuzuru Hanyu’s record in short program
– Beijing Olympics to allow more spectators with COVID under control
– Korean traditional dress in Beijing Olympics ceremony sparks outcry
– Chinese American figure skaters shine for Team USA in Beijing
Entries include files from wire services and Nikkei Asia reporters.
Here are the latest developments:
Thursday, Feb. 10 (Tokyo time)
2:37 p.m. That’s it! American Nathan Chen wins gold at the men’s figure skating finals with an overall score of 332.60. Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama snags the silver while bronze goes to his compatriot Shoma Uno. Defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu has to settle for 4th spot after some disappointing performances this week.
2:30 p.m. Chinese social media platform Weibo says it has deleted tens of thousands of posts over abuse directed at athletes and also suspended some 850 accounts. The move comes after Zhu Yi, a U.S. born figure skater who competed for China, was mocked online after she fell during her Olympic program.
2:20 p.m. American Nathan Chen is going for gold to the sounds of Elton John’s Rocket Man. The 22-year-old, who had left empty-handed after a meltdown in Pyeongchang four years ago, broke Japanese star Yuzuru Hanyu’s world record in the short program this week.
2:07 p.m. Japan’s Shoma Uno is on the ice and gunning for a medal after placing third in the men’s short program this week.
1:38 p.m. South Korea’s Junhwan Cha is coming soon in the men’s figure skating finals, with Japanese skaters Shoma Uno and Yuma Kagiyama also chasing the podium. Last up will be world record breaker Nathan Chen of Team U.S.A.
1:24 p.m. Defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu falls twice in figure skating finals. That will surely end his chances of getting on the podium.
1:15 p.m. Japan’s “Ice Prince” Yuzuru Hanyu takes to the ice. Big moment here for the defending Olympic champion. Hanyu could make history if he can land the quadrauple Axel. But he’s never done it in competition before. He’ll need a near perfect routine to medal.
12:23 p.m. Teen figure skating sensation Kamila Valieva shows up for her scheduled practice, after Russian media reported that the 15-year-old had tested positive for a banned substance.
12:25 p.m. IOC spokesman Mark Adams dodges questions about reports that Russian teen figure skating sensation Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned drug. “It wouldn’t be appropriate” to comment, he told reporters. “It’s an active legal case…we have to wait with patience for this case to reach some kind of conclusion.”
12:02 p.m. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba releases a virtual idol promoting the Olympics. Named “Dong Dong,” the virtual idol, a computer-generated character, is described as “a passionate, Beijing-born 22-year-old woman who loves winter sports.” Virtual idols have gained huge popularity in China over the past few years.
12:00 p.m. American teen Chloe Kim grabs gold in the women’s halfpipe final. Kim at 17 became the youngest woman ever to win Olympic gold in snowboarding at the Pyeongchang Games in 2018.
11:45 a.m. International Olympic Committee (IOC) daily press briefing is expected to start soon. Will they comment on Russian media reports that teen figure skating sensation Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned drug?
11:44 a.m. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin will decide later Thursday whether she will take part in the super-G race scheduled for Friday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. team says. The 26-year-old had earlier questioned if she would keep going after failing to finish two races, rare stumbles in a glittering career.
10:56 a.m. The highly anticipated men’s figure skating final has started with Russia’s Andrei Mozalev taking to the ice first. American Nathan Chen and defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan to show their stuff in early afternoon.
10:21 a.m. The men’s figure skating final kicks off shortly. Japan’s “Ice Prince” Yuzuru Hanyu is looking for redemption after a stumble in the short program and still hoping to make history with the first-ever landing of the quadruple Axel in competition. American Nathan Chen goes in strong after setting a new world record in the short program, while Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno are hot on his heels in the race for a spot on the podium.
4:39 a.m. Russia media report figure skater Kamila Valieva, 15, had tested positive for a banned drug. The reports come after the ceremony to present her and her teammates with their gold medals was postponed by the International Olympic Committee for unexplained “legal consultations.”
According to Reuters, Russian newspapers named the drug as trimetazidine, which is typically used to treat chest pain.
2:36 a.m. Russian sports ministry says premature to comment on media reports that Russian teen skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned drug.
1:45 a.m. Both USA Today and The Guardian report that the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event was called off after a positive drug test on a Russian skater. The substance “was not performance enhancing,” The Guardian reports, citing “multiple sources.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s Sport-Express reports that Russian skater Andrei Mozalev had received death threats from fans of Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, who skated after Mozalev in Tuesday’s short program and said a hole in the ice made him miss a jump.
1:30 a.m. Iranian alpine skier Hossein Saveh Shemshaki is suspended from the Beijing Olympics after testing positive for an anabolic steroid, the International Testing Agency (ITA) say, the first publicly announced doping case at the Games.
Wednesday, Feb. 9
11:48 p.m. Hwang Dae-heon claims South Korea’s first short track speed skating medal as he wins the men’s 1,500 metres, narrowly beating Canada’s Steven Dubois by 0.035 seconds.
7:47 p.m. Still no word on why the medals ceremony for the figure skating team event won by Russian skaters was postponed. The International Olympic Committee says it was due to an unspecified issue that requires “legal consultation.” But four Russian skaters, including 15-year-old sensation Kamila Valieva, did not attend their planned training session on Wednesday, raising more questions.
5:30 p.m. Chinese social media users come out in force to defend the quality of the Olympic ice rink after Japanese superstar Yuzuru Hanyu said his skates getting stuck in a hole in the ice caused him to the opening jump in his disappointing performance on Tuesday.
5:28 p.m. – Lindsey Jacobellis grabs first gold medal for the U.S. team by winning the women’s snowboard cross event. The 37-year-old almost won the same event at the 2006 Turin Games when she threw in a showboating trick, only to fall and get overtaken at the line.
3:33 p.m. Die-hard fans, and scalpers, line up overnight for the chance to order anything in the likeness of Winter Games mascot Bing Dwen Dwen, as factories scramble to ramp up production to meet surging demand for the chubby panda.
3:30 p.m. Japan’s twice silver medalist Ayumu Hirano leads snowboard halfpipe qualifiers, while superstar American Shaun White keeps his Olympic dreams alive by advancing after a wobbly first run.
2:54 p.m. The medals ceremony for the figure skating team event that was won by Russian skaters is delayed due to an issue that requires “legal consultation,” the International Olympic Committee says, without providing details.
2:36 p.m. Skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin chokes back tears after failing to finish the slalom event, her second missed race in a row. “I’ve never been in this position before and I don’t know how to handle it,” the American said.
11:31 a.m. American double gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin fails to complete first run of the women’s slalom, clocking her second disappointing finish after she crashed out of the giant slalom. She was a favorite to medal in both events.
9:09 a.m. Games mascot Bing Dwen Dwen is winning over fans in a big way, with the chubby panda cub generating 2.58 billion views so far on China’s Twitter-like social platform Weibo, state news agency Xinhua reports.
8:58 a.m. Sweden leads the medals table with four golds, one silver and one bronze after the fourth day of competition. It is followed by the Netherlands, China and Germany, which have three golds apiece.
1:09 a.m. Host China saw its run in the women’s Olympic ice hockey tournament come to an end as Sweden leapfrogged China in the group stage after back-to-back wins. China was eliminated, along with Denmark.
Tuesday, Feb. 8 (Tokyo time)
10:55 p.m. A member of Team Germany tests positive for COVID-19 upon landing in Beijing. Germany already has three athletes and a staff member in quarantine, including three-time Nordic combined gold medalist Eric Frenze.
9:37 p.m. The Chinese Embassy in South Korea defends the use of a traditional Korean costume in last week’s Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing, after South Korean politicians and activists criticized what they called “cultural appropriation.”
6:33 p.m. U.S.-born freestyle skier Eileen Gu, who won a gold medal for China, declines to say if she has given up her American passport, as required under Chinese rules, Reuters reports. “I feel just as American as Chinese. I don’t feel I’m taking advantage of one or another,” she said.
5:15 p.m. American figure skater Nathan Chen describes his world record performance in the short program as “pretty close to my best,” adding: “Obviously, there are always things that you can improve on, there are always things that you can do a little bit better. But overall, I am very happy.”
3:08 p.m. Dozens of athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 in China before and during the Winter Olympics have now come out of quarantine ready to compete, organizers say. But for some, the dream of sporting glory has ended prematurely.
3:00 p.m. American Nathan Chen wins the men’s short program with a new world record. Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama finishes second, and Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno is in third. Japanese superstar Yuzuru Hanyu disappoints with an eighth-place finish. He will have to land a quadruple axel, the sport’s most difficult jump, to have a shot at the podium on Thursday.
2:43 p.m. China will invite more spectators to attend the Winter Olympics, as the COVID-19 situation is under control within the “closed-loop” bubble, which separates all event personnel from the public, an organizing committee official says. Tickets were not sold to the public over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. Instead, a number of spectators from targeted groups of people were picked to attend events.
2:15 p.m. American figure skater Nathan Chen lands a new world record score of 113.97 in the men’s short program, eclipsing the 111.82 set by Japanese Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu at the Four Continents tournament in 2020.
2:10 p.m. Austria’s Matthias Mayer becomes the first man to win an Alpine skiing gold medal at three consecutive Olympic Games after winning the super-G.
1:45 p.m. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu sinks to fourth place, behind Russia’s Evgeni Semenenko and South Korea’s Junhwan Cha. Japan’s Shoma Uno is still on top at the first event of men’s figure skating.
1:34 p.m. Japanese figure skating superstar Yuzuru Hanyu puts in a disappointing performance, fumbling his bid to land a quad jump, as compatriot Shoma Uno jumps into first place with a score of 105.90. “I feel really shocked,” he said later. “It makes me wonder, did I do something wrong to deserve this?”
12:43 p.m. American alpine skier Nina O’Brien is out of the Winter Olympics after suffering compound fractures to her left leg from a crash on her giant slalom run.
12:14 p.m. Chinese teenager Eileen Gu lands a tricky jump for the first time to become the first freeski big air Olympic champion. The U.S.-born Gu landed a 1620, a trick only France’s Tess Ledeux, who settled for silver, had achieved in competition before, in the final run. Women’s tennis player Peng Shuai watched Gu’s performance from the stands.
11:52 p.m. Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris took bronze in the slopestyle final, but his choice of equipment — a snowboard with a picture of a giant panda — was gold as shops quickly sell out of souvenirs bearing images of the beloved national symbol in China.
10:15 a.m. The men’s skating short program has started, with Japanese star Yuzuru Hanyu aiming to grab his third Olympic gold medal with a quadruple axel.
5:14 a.m. China’s use of a Uyghur athlete to carry the Olympic torch cannot be a distraction from “the human rights abuses, the genocide” committed against the minority group, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki says. China denies claims of widespread abuses against Uyghurs in its northwestern Xinjiang region.
1:45 a.m. American Vincent Zhou has withdrawn from the men’s figure skating event after testing positive for COVID-19. The two-time Olympian was considered a contender for an individual medal and helped the U.S. win a silver medal in the team competition. “This is not the end,” said Zhou, 21, announcing the news on Instagram. “This is a setup for a bigger comeback.”
12:50 a.m. The mixed team ski jumping final is roiled by controversy as Japan, Austria and Norway all have jumpers disqualified due to suit violations. The rules link suits and skis to body weight to remove any advantage that might be gained by athletes being lighter. In the depleted final, Slovenia wins gold, while Russia claims silver and Canada bronze. World champion Germany fails to make the final over individual silver medalist Katharina Althaus’s suit violation. Japan’s Sara Takanashi, who holds the record for most individual World Cup wins in ski jumping, is among those disqualified in the final.
12:31 a.m. Ren Ziwei earns the host nation’s second gold at the Beijing Olympics by winning the short track speedskating 1,000 meters. The action-packed final saw crashes and disqualifications for illegal contact.
Monday, Feb. 7
11:35 p.m. Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust makes history as she claims her sixth career gold medal, becoming the first Olympian to win gold at five different editions of the Winter Games.
9:46 p.m. World record holder Hwang Dae-heon is knocked out of the short track speedskating 1,000-meter event in the semifinal after being disqualified for illegal contact with another skater.
7:00 p.m. Russia takes an early lead in the Games with a total of six medals. Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy and Austria all have four medals apiece. Host China has two medals. Sweden leads in the gold category with three medals.
6:32 p.m. Chinese teen snowboarder Su Yiming wins silver at the men’s slopestyle final, earning the home favorite a standing ovation from spectators after netizens had earlier slammed an unexpectedly low score on his first run.
4:36 p.m. Switzerland’s Beat Feuz wins gold in the men’s downhill, with 41-year-old Frenchman Johan Clarey taking silver in the first Alpine medal event.
3:20 p.m. A women’s ice hockey preliminary round game between Canada and Russia is delayed by an hour before players return to the ice wearing masks. The Canadian team says Russia did not provide it with COVID-19 test results after six of its players who tested positive were put in isolation last week.
2:30 p.m. A flood of angry and frustrated comments flood Chinese social media after the local favorite, snowboarder Su Yiming, finishes his first run at the men’s slopestyle final with what they saw as an unexpectedly low score.
1:00 p.m. Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, 15, becomes the first woman in Olympic history to land quadruple jumps as her native country secures its second gold medal of the Beijing Games in the team event.
12:46 p.m. Female athletes will take part in 53% of the events at the Beijing Winter Olympics, up from 47% at Pyeongchang 2018, the International Olympic Committee says.
12:38 p.m. U.S. figure skater Vincent Zhou tests positive for COVID-19, just a day before he is set to compete in the men’s short program.
12:33 p.m. Two dozen new COVID-19 cases are detected among games-related personnel, including some already in the “closed loop” bubble that separates all event personnel from the public, Games organizers say.
10:44 a.m. Double Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin crashes out of the women’s giant slalom during her first run. The American slid off her skis coming down the course dubbed “The Ice River” at Yanqing Alpine Centre.
10:22 a.m. Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai tells French newspaper L’Equipe that she never accused anyone of sexual assault and that she had deleted a social media post that suggested former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli had assaulted her in the past. Separately, the International Olympic Committee says its president Thomas Bach met with Peng for dinner on Saturday and that she planned to attend several Games events.
9:44 a.m. Japanese snowboarder Rina Yoshika, who crashed while practicing last week, says she is recovering from surgery for a spinal injury.
1:46 a.m. China ends Japan’s unbeaten streak in the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament, upsetting their rivals 2-1 in a tense shootout, while the United States locks up a routine win over Switzerland.
12:50 a.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with various heads of state during the Beijing Winter Games to discuss Belt and Road-related infrastructure investments and cooperation in stemming COVID-19. Xi met individually with Poland’s Andrzej Duda, Pakistan’s Imran Khan and Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez.
Sunday, Feb. 6
11:33 p.m. Australia’s Jakara Anthony makes history as the first Australian woman to win an Olympic gold in the freestyle moguls event. It was also her country’s first Winter Games gold in more than a decade.
9:44 p.m. Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan wins the gold medal in the men’s ski jumping individual normal hill event. Manuel Fettner of Austria takes silver and Dawid Kubacki of Poland claims the bronze. This is Japan’s first gold medal in Beijing 2022 and its first in ski jumping since 1998.
9:12 p.m. New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott calls herself a “proud Kiwi” after winning the gold in the women’s slopestyle event, snagging the nation’s first-ever Winter Games gold medal.
Saturday, Feb. 5
11:53 p.m. China grabs the gold in the 2,000-meter short track speedskating mixed-team relay. Italy finishes with the silver and Hungary the bronze.
12:33 p.m. Strong winds force the cancellation of the third training session for the men’s downhill skiing race after just a few athletes complete the course. Double Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin warns the swirling gusts threaten skier safety and says she hopes no one will get blown off the mountain.
12:22 p.m. Taiwan blasts as “contemptible” the timing of China and Russia’s partnership announced at the start of the Winter Olympics, saying Beijing was bringing shame to the spirit of the Games. Hours earlier, the two nations backed each other over standoffs on Ukraine and Taiwan with a promise to collaborate more against the West.
12:09 p.m. Beijing 2022 organizers say 45 new cases of COVID-19 were detected among athletes and Olympic Games personnel on Feb. 4, more than double the 21 cases reported a day earlier. Some of the new infections were spotted among people living inside a “closed-loop” bubble that restricts their contact with the public.
Friday, Feb. 4 (Tokyo time)
11:20 p.m. And that’s it. The torch is placed in the center of the snowflake we saw earlier, and hoisted aloft.
11:15 p.m. The torch is in the stadium. We’re nearing the big moment.
10:52 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping declares the Games open. A large display of fireworks ignites.
10:45 p.m. We’re now in the speeches phase of the ceremony. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach wishes “all our Chinese friends” a happy Lunar New Year. He notes that the year of the tiger is also an Olympic year and says that “both years stand for ambition, courage and strength.”
He credits China’s ambition for turning itself into a winter sports nation and thanks the Chinese authorities and people for making the Games happen despite the circumstances of the pandemic.
He says the athletes can show it is possible for fierce rivals to compete and live together peacefully, “never erecting walls.”
10:30 p.m. The parade of athletes concludes with China’s team entering the stadium, decked out in deep red uniforms. This kicks off a performance with countries’ names in snowflakes.
The Olympics website explains:
“Each delegation marched in behind a placard bearer holding up a snowflake-shaped board carrying the names of each team. Now, those 91 snowflakes come together to form one single, larger snowflake, framed by olive branches to symbolize peace and harmony.”
9:20 p.m. The parade of athletes is underway. Nearly 3,000 are set to compete in 15 disciplines across seven winter sports, chasing 109 sets of medals.
9:10 p.m. Xi Jinping welcomes the limited invitees with a wave. He’s sitting next to, but at a safe distance from, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.
9:02 p.m. The 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony gets underway at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium.
7:51 p.m. Russia and China call on The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to halt its expansion and for the U.S. and its allies to “abandon the ideological approaches of the Cold War era.” Moscow says it supports Beijing’s stance on Taiwan and opposes the island’s independence.
3:17 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and to attend the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, state media report. His visit comes in the middle of soaring geopolitical tensions as Washington and its allies warn that Moscow is readying troops to invade Ukraine, a claim Russia denies.
12:47 p.m. Hong Kong national security officers detain five activists Friday morning over a planned protest to highlight human rights violations in China ahead of the opening ceremony. One of them, Koo Sze-yiu, was arrested on suspicion of violating the national security law, imposed on the city by Beijing in 2020, by allegedly inciting subversion.
12:00 p.m. The Olympic torch relay begins its final stretch as it moves past bridges, pagodas and frozen lakes of the Summer Palace, built by China’s last imperial dynasty. The three-day relay ends at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium where the Olympics’ opening ceremony kicks off Friday evening.
11:18 a.m. Japanese figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu says he is aiming to grab his third Olympic gold medal with a quadruple axel, a jump never successfully landed in competition. “For that, I know I’ll definitely need everyone’s power, so please cheer me on,” the 27-year-old says in a video message to fans.
6:14 a.m. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sends a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulating him on the Winter Olympics as a “great victory” and vowing to improve relations between the two neighbors, state news agency KCNA reports.
1:45 a.m. The threat of war between Russia and Ukraine is the biggest risk for insurers offering coverage during Beijing’s Winter Olympics as an outbreak of hostilities could force team withdrawals or appearance cancellations, Reuters reports, citing industry sources.
12:43 a.m. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the U.S. has a moral duty to condemn China’s rights abuses, but she urges American athletes not to risk angering the “ruthless” Chinese government. Pelosi, speaking at a Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing, says the International Olympic Committee “turns a blind eye” to Beijing’s rights violations.
1:38 a.m. China expresses “understanding and support” for Russia’s position on security after a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers. Washington and its allies warn that Moscow is readying troops to invade Ukraine, a claim Russia denies.
Thursday, Feb. 3
11:15 p.m. Japanese snowboarder Rina Yoshika suffered a heavy fall in training on the slopestyle course at the Genting Snow Park and will return home. She crash-landed on one of the jumps during a practice run and lay motionless before a medical team rushed to help.
9:17 p.m. Hundreds of Tibetan activists march on the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, accusing the IOC of complicity in “atrocities” committed against ethnic minorities in China by awarding the Games to Beijing.
9:07 p.m. The Czech Republic’s David Krejci, one of the biggest names in the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament, tests positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Beijing. Krejci, who won a Stanley Cup with the NHL’s Boston Bruins before returning to play in the Czech Extraliga this season, was isolating in his room at the athletes village.
6:00 p.m. Japan’s speedskating coach, Johan de Wit, has joined the lengthening list of COVID-19 positives at the Games. He says he is in isolation and will have to support the team “from a distance.”
3:30 p.m. German pairs figure skater Nolan Seegert is out of the teams event after testing positive for COVID-19 a second time. He is isolating in a hotel.
12:08 p.m. Hong Kong action and comedy star Jackie Chan carries the Olympic torch along the Great Wall as temperatures plummet to minus 11 degrees C (12 Fahrenheit). Chan, 67, told reporters after his brief run atop the historic landmark: “I woke up at 4 a.m. … I’m very happy. I’m also cold!”
12:00 p.m. A total of 55 new COVID-19 infections have been detected among athletes, team officials and Games personnel, the highest daily tally so far. Since Jan. 23, some 287 infections have been spotted from a total of 610,000 tests.
10:59 a.m. President Xi Jinping says China is ready to hold a “safe and splendid” Winter Games despite rising COVID-19 cases and as some infected athletes cancel their plans to compete at the global showcase.
4:12 a.m. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz tells broadcaster ZDF he has “no travel plans” when asked whether he will attend the Beijing Winter Olympics. He says, “It cannot be assumed that I will suddenly turn up.”
12:21 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin is to fly to Beijing on Thursday and will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for talks on Friday before attending the Olympic opening ceremony, the Kremlin says. The visit comes as tensions soar between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.
Wednesday, Feb. 2
4:00 p.m. Winter sports powerhouse Norway will likely top the medals table for a second consecutive Olympics, but host China could win a record 13 medals, including six golds, says a forecast from data analysts Nielsen Gracenote. Team China’s previous Olympic success has been in a handful of sports, including figure skating, freestyle skiing, snowboarding and speedskating.
12:27 p.m. Some 32 new COVID-19 infections have been detected among athletes and Games personnel, the event’s organizing committee says. The new cases were found in airport arrivals and also those living inside the “closed-loop” bubble that separates Olympic participants from the public.
12:15 p.m. About 46% of Americans polled approve of Washington boycotting the Winter Games, while 22% are not in favor of the diplomatic rebuke to China’s rights record, says a new Pew Research Center survey. Another 31% are unsure about the move, the U.S.-based think tank says.
10:45 a.m. The Winter Olympics torch relay starts with a launch ceremony at the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing. Over the three-day relay, more than 1,000 torchbearers will carry the flame past historical landmarks, including the Great Wall.
Tuesday, Feb. 1 (Tokyo time)
1:12 p.m. Games organizers are aiming to fill venues to at least 30% capacity despite China’s strict rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the International Olympic Committee says. Tickets are not being sold to the general public, but are instead being distributed to “targeted” groups.
12:00 p.m. Two dozen new cases of COVID-19 have been detected among athletes and Games personnel, according to the event’s official website. That brought the total since Jan. 23 to some 200 infections among airport arrivals and inside a “closed-loop” bubble, but those numbers are within the “expected controllable range,” according to a senior official at China’s Olympics Pandemic Prevention and Control Office, Reuters reports.
11:34 a.m. Taiwan’s Winter Olympic team will attend the opening and closing ceremonies after being told by the International Olympic Committee it was required to participate. On Friday, Taiwan had said the team would not attend, blaming delayed flights and tough anti-COVID-19 rules.
10:25 a.m. The Olympic torch relay will kick off Wednesday on a shorter-than-usual route that starts at Beijing’s Olympic Forest Park, but only hand-picked members of the public will be on hand to watch the three-day event because of strict COVID-19 rules.
7:00 a.m. America’s FBI warns of possible cyberattacks at Beijing’s Winter Games, saying that hackers could try to disrupt events and steal or leak “sensitive data.” The U.S. police agency also cautioned athletes to use temporary mobile phones to avoid the theft of personal information from their own devices.
Monday, Jan. 31 (Tokyo time)
9:00 p.m. Two Democratic U.S. lawmakers, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. James McGovern, write to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, urging the group to prepare to defend American athletes from possible Chinese government retaliation should they choose to speak out about China’s rights abuses during the Beijing Winter Olympics.
A Chinese official told reporters in January that any behavior against the Olympic spirit, and “especially against Chinese laws and regulations,” would be subject to punishment.
1:37 p.m. A Chinese figure skating judge suspended for giving preferential marks to his compatriots will serve on a technical judging panel at Beijing’s Winter Olympics, Reuters reports, citing competition records. Huang Feng received a one-year suspension in June 2018 for biased judging of pairs figure skating at the Pyeongchang Olympics that year, the agency says.
12:54 p.m. Beijing 2022 organizers report another 37 new COVID-19 infections among people linked to the Games, including eight athletes or team officials, according to the event’s official website. Nine positive cases were detected inside the “closed loop” — in which Olympics participants and staffers can move within a bubble but not around the city. On Sunday, organizers reported 34 new infections.
10:05 a.m. Foreign journalists are facing “unprecedented hurdles” covering China, a new report says, as the world’s press descends on the country to cover the Winter Games.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) said Beijing was blocking and discrediting independent reporting while also cutting off new visas and expelling some members of the press.
“With China pulling out all the stops for the Olympic Games, the FCCC is troubled by the breakneck speed by which media freedom is declining in China,” the organization said in a survey published Monday.
“China’s approach to foreign journalists is in direct contrast to its own stated policies for foreign media and the Olympic spirit of excellence, friendship, and respect.”
Some 99% of journalists in this year’s survey said reporting conditions did not meet what they considered to be international standards, it added.
Sunday, Jan. 30
2:00 p.m. Beijing Olympics organizers say 34 new coronavirus infections have been detected among personnel related to the Games, Reuters reports — about a third of them athletes and team officials. Twenty-three of the cases were new arrivals, while 11 were already in the “closed loop” — in which Olympics participants and staffers can move within a bubble but not around the city. Under the rules, athletes who test positive and show no symptoms are released from isolation only after testing negative twice, 24 hours apart, according to the report.
Saturday, Jan. 29
3:03 p.m. The U.S. denies a report in Chinese state media claiming it was attempting to disrupt the Games by enticing athletes to make halfhearted efforts in competition and to criticize Beijing. “We were not and are not coordinating a global campaign regarding participation at the Olympics,” a U.S. Embassy spokesperson tells Reuters.
On Friday, China Daily, an English-language newspaper run by the Chinese Communist Party, cited unnamed sources as saying U.S. “anti-China forces” sought to “maliciously disrupt and spoil” the Games and politicize sports.
12:40 p.m. Beijing 2022 organizers log a total of 36 new COVID-19 infections among related personnel, Reuters reports. Nineteen were athletes or team officials who tested positive upon arrival on Friday.
9:40 a.m. Human rights advocates have urged athletes and sponsors to speak out during the Beijing Games, underscoring the tense political atmosphere. Activists representing Chinese dissidents and minority Uyghurs and Tibetans spoke at an online news conference organized by Human Rights Watch on Friday, according to The Associated Press.
“Your silence is their strength,” said Lhadon Tethong, director of the Tibet Action Institute, appealing to athletes from the West and elsewhere to take a stand against what activists — and some governments — have labeled “genocide.” “I personally believe that you should use your platform and your privilege and this historic opportunity. You have to speak out against the wave of genocide,” she said.
China denies all allegations of abuse and has warned against political statements at the Games. “Any behavior or speeches that are against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment,” Yang Shu, deputy director general of Beijing 2022’s International Relations Department, said earlier this month.
2:20 a.m. The Canadian Olympic Committee says five members of its 246-person Olympic delegation have been placed in Beijing’s COVID-19 protocols, Reuters reports.
1:15 a.m. Taiwan’s team of 15 athletes, competing under the name “Chinese Taipei,” will not participate in the opening or closing ceremonies of the Beijing Games. The announcement by Taiwanese officials comes amid concern that Beijing could use the Games to make a statement concerning the status of the self-ruled island, which China considers a renegade province.
Friday, Jan. 28
3:30 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Games and hold a welcoming banquet for a string of heads of state and other dignitaries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, China’s Foreign Ministry said. Others expected to attend the opening ceremony include U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach, it added.
12:30 p.m. Twelve cases of COVID-19 were detected among Games-related personnel on Thursday, organizers reveal, according to Reuters. Of the dozen, 10 were new arrivals at the airport, while the others were found in the Olympics’ “closed-loop” virus bubble.
11:05 a.m. China will let the U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet visit its scandal-hit Xinjiang region after the Winter Olympics wrap up, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unnamed sources. The visit is set to happen sometime in the first half of the year, the paper said.
Rights groups have accused China of human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minority groups in the far-western region, including torture, forced labor and the mass detention of about 1 million people.
Beijing, which denies those claims, insisted that Bachelet’s office hold off on publishing a report into the region before it hosts the global sports showcase, the Post said.
3:36 a.m. The three villages for athletes are now open — under a strict COVID-19 bubble policy. Besides observing the coronavirus rules, some delegations including the U.S. and Canada have advised their team members not to bring their own mobile devices due to cybersecurity concern.