NHL involvement fuels growing anticipation for Beijing 2022 Games

During today’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) meeting, a progress report from the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee highlighted the growing anticipation and preparedness for next year’s Games. This follows the recent confirmation that National Hockey League (NHL) ice hockey players will participate in Beijing.

Beijing 2022

Speaking about this, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Last week, we heard very good news of the participation of the best ice hockey players in the world in these Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. We are very happy for the players, who were actually the driving force behind this agreement, which has finally been reached between the NHL and the Players’ Association. And we thank the International Ice Hockey Federation in particular, but also the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee and everybody who was involved in getting to this agreement. Therefore, I think all ice hockey fans from around the world can look forward to an Olympic ice hockey tournament at full strength at Beijing 2022.”

Today’s IOC EB meeting also provided the team in Beijing with an opportunity to outline a busy period approaching for the Organising Committee. This includes numerous test events, testing activities and training periods which will take place between October and December, 10 of which are international competitions. These will provide opportunities to make final optimisations at venues and facilities ahead of the Games, which take place between 4 and 20 February next year.

Details of the extensive planning being undertaken with regard to COVID-19 countermeasures were also shared. On this matter, President Bach said: “The IOC and Beijing 2022 will apply the same principle as for Tokyo 2020, which is safe Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.” In this respect it was confirmed that the publication of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks, outlining guidelines for all stakeholders, are expected to be finalised and published in October. These will build on the learnings from the Tokyo 2020 Games and benefit from the continued input from worldwide experts and the World Health Organization.

In addition to the updates on Beijing 2022, the IOC EB received a short summary reflecting on this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Games ahead of a formal Tokyo 2020 report, which will be presented to the IOC EB in December 2021.

This reflected some of the initial, positive feedback received from many key stakeholders, including the athletes. Newly elected Chair of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, Emma Terho, explained the importance of these Games for the athletes, despite the complexity of the operations, saying that the Tokyo 2020 Games made it possible for them to realise their Olympic dream following an incredibly difficult period for society.

Such sentiment was reflected in feedback from the International Federations, National Olympic Committees and various other stakeholders. Speaking about this, President Bach said: “The echo from the international audience from all around the world was extremely positive. They made it clear the Games were this symbol of hope the world was longing for.”

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