My PJ Media colleague Victoria Taft covered the extraordinarily brutal conditions for athletes forced to enter the COVID protocols. The conditions have driven some athletes to tears.
It’s not just the terrible food, the dirty rooms, the lack of reliable internet, or other inconveniences that may — or may not — be deliberate in order to give Chinese athletes a leg up in the competition.
Even in the ordinary accommodations for athletes, the Olympics are proving to be an ordeal rather than a celebration of athletic excellence.
China is supposed to be a great, big, grown-up country possessing nuclear weapons — technologically advanced, and supposedly an upstanding member of the community of nations.
If this is how they treat guests, remind me never to visit there.
Polish speedskater Natalia Maliszewska said she was traumatized after officials released her from isolation and returned her to the Olympic village at 3 a.m., but then brought her back to isolation claiming they made a mistake.
“I was sitting in the ambulance. It was 3am. I was crying like crazy because I didn’t know what was going on. I did not feel safe at all,” Maliszewska, 26, said, according to Reuters.
“They had told me at midnight that I could go out and five minutes later that I could not,” she said. “They told me there’s so many politics stuff that you will not understand. It’s China.”
If this is a not-so-subtle effort to affect the psyche of athletes and diminish their performance, the Chinese are certainly doing a poor job of concealing it.
Another issue is the negative tests for COVID not leading to a release from these hell holes.
The Finnish Olympic team says Marko Anttila, formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks, tested positive 18 days ago but produced several negative results prior to departure.
Head coach Jukka Jalonen blasted: “Marko has been with our team for about a week before we came here and he tested negative.”
“We know that he’s fully healthy and ready to go and that’s why we think that China, for some reason, they won’t respect his human rights and that’s not a great situation,” he added.
Bernard-Henri Lévy sums up the whole embarrassing, maddening, humiliating mess in China.
The embarrassing spectacle of Uighur skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang lighting the snowflake-shaped Olympic cauldron under the gaze of Xi Jinping, an image that the spokespersons of the International Olympic Committee found “charming”?
The fact that, unlike in Berlin in 1936 or Moscow in 1980, the matter of a boycott was scarcely mentioned, as “it was shown” that the topic would have a “negative impact” on the athletes’ morale?
Or the ubiquitous commentary about the Games’ disastrous effect — not on human rights — but on the carbon footprint of these Olympic displays of technical prowess and artifice, this laboratory experiment of Chinese biopolitics run amok, and the 85 million liters of water shot through 350 snow cannons set up in arid Yanqing District?
It is hard to know, in each of these cases, whether to incriminate the cowardice, blindness, or cynicism.
Forced to choose one, I pick “cowardice.” Blindness and cynicism are understandable, if not excusable. But it takes a special kind of coward to deliberately ignore the human suffering of Uyghurs and others and enjoy the Olympic Games.