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Beijing 2022 achieves success with extreme satisfaction from athletes, says IOC chief

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-02-18 21:29
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The International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach speaks during a press conference at the Main Media Center for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Feb 18, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING -- The Beijing 2022 has achieved success so far with extreme satisfaction and unprecedented Olympic spirit from the athletes, said Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at a press conference here on Friday.

"Here in Beijing it is very obvious that the athletes are happy and are more than happy. They are extremely satisfied with the venues, with the Villages, with the services having been offered, and with the safety within the closed loop under these very difficult circumstances," said the IOC chief.

"The athletes are responding with outstanding performances and with, from my point of view, unprecedented Olympic spirit," Bach said. "The intensity of this Olympic experience was above and beyond what I have experienced before in Olympic Games."

The IOC president also hailed the Olympic legacy left to Beijing and to the world.

"We need not to worry about the use of the 2,000 ski stations and ice rinks around China. Even less so, that all new Beijing 2022 venues have legacy plans in place ensuring their post-Games multipurpose use all year round," said Bach.

"This high interest may also have been inspired by the fact that more than 300 million Chinese people have been made familiar with winter sports," said Bach.

"I think this trend has been strengthened by the great success of the Chinese Olympic team," said Bach, "the medallists have been celebrated by the Chinese people on social media, TV and newspapers with great excitement and pride."

Bach highly praised the COVID-19 countermeasures at Beijing 2022.

"With an infection rate of 0.01, it was one of the safest places on the planet, if not the safest place on the planet and this is a great achievement," Bach said.

"There, I think what we could learn, is that in the Olympic movement if we are united, then we can be extremely resilient," said Bach, adding that this has been demonstrated by organizing two Olympic Games within six months under the pandemic and under the threats of the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Bach also highlighted the high-tech features applied at the Games.

"We have seen that the trend towards digital engagement and digital consumption of broadcast coverage of the Games is not only continuing, it is accelerating. We can see already now it is record-breaking," Bach noted.

"The IOC-owned Olympic social media accounts have surpassed 2.7 billion engagements for Beijing 2022. There, I'm not speaking of the many other means and platforms," added Bach.

Bach watched on TV the women's singles figure skating on Thursday and saw Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) finished fourth, noting that "this pressure is beyond my imagination and in particular for a girl of 15 years old."

Valieva had been provisionally banned on February 8 when a sample taken in December last year returned a positive result for banned substance trimetazidine, before the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) lifted it the next day.

"What we can do is what we have been doing, is offer the support and all the tools that we have put in place here at the Games where we are offering psychological assistance for athletes with mental health challenges and issues," said Bach.

"Where we have the Athlete365 program, to whom everybody can turn to. And we're also in contact with the Russian Olympic Committee so that she hopefully will get the assistance she obviously needs, because this must be in the interest of everybody," Bach added.

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