Seth Udinski, FISM News
As the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics continue, what is happening outside of the arenas has become as much of a story as what is happening in the competitions. The number of athletes speaking out against China’s terrible conditions for athletes in quarantine has grown, calling out everything from the quality of food to the reliability of testing procedures.
On Monday, FISM News issued a report from Polish athlete Natalia Maliszewska who tested positive on Jan. 30 but was still placed in solitary confinement by Chinese officials. She described her experience in quarantine as “traumatic.”
The Polish speedskater shared on Instagram, saying,
My heart can’t take it. I know a lot of people do not understand this situation. Positive and negative tests, tests confirming isolation, suddenly positive tests … Later, good results again…I don’t understand it either. I don’t believe in anything anymore. In no tests. No games. It’s a big joke for me.
Additionally, Russian competitor Valeria Vasnetsova expressed concern about her own mental health inside quarantine, as well as her physical health for not receiving adequate food. She said,
I’m very pale and I have huge black circles around my eyes. I want all this to end. I cry every day.\
On February 3, Vasnetsova shared on Instagram her horrid physical conditions and food provision as well. She deleted the post shortly after, but not before it had gained traction on the internet.
Russian athlete Valeria Vasnetsova posted this photo on Instagram.
She says that the same meal has been served at the Winter Olympics in Beijing for "breakfast, lunch, and dinner for five days already." pic.twitter.com/AspgWEqutb
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) February 7, 2022
She said in part,
I’ve lost a lot of weight and my bones are sticking out. I can’t eat anything else, I don’t know anything about my corona tests…I only sleep all day because I don’t even have the strength to get out of bed. I only eat three handfuls of pasta a day because it’s just impossible to eat the rest of the food.
Some countries have also joined athletes in demanding changes from China. The head of the German delegation is calling for improved conditions, including better rooms and better food, plus access to training equipment so athletes are still in good shape when they get out of isolation.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that they are aware of these complaints and are addressing them.