Belgian athlete moved to Olympic Village after heartbreaking video message

Belgian skeleton racer Kim Meylemans is finally “safe” in the Olympic Village after her pleas on social media led the International Olympic Committee to free her from an isolation facility in Beijing.

Following a positive COVID-19 test result upon her arrival in China, Meylemans was required to isolate and present several negative tests before she could be admitted into the Yanqing Olympic Village.

Kim Meylemans has had an emotional start to the 2022 Olympic Games. (REUTERS/Edgar Su)
Kim Meylemans has had an emotional start to the 2022 Olympic Games. (REUTERS/Edgar Su)

She boarded an ambulance on Wednesday, thinking she would be driven to join the rest of the athletes in the village. Instead, she was taken to a second isolation facility and was told she would have to remain there for 14 more days.

The 25-year-old took to Instagram to tell the world about her situation in a tearful video later that day. Upon learning about the mistake, the Belgian Olympic Committee and the IOC quickly stepped in and arranged Meylemans’ transport to the Olympic Village.

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“At 11:35 p.m. there was a knock on my door and I was escorted to the Olympic Village. I’m now in a wing that’s just isolation, but at least I’m back in the village,” she said in an update on her Instagram story. “I feel safe and I’ll be able to train a little better here.”

Meylemans will still have to produce seven days worth of negative tests before she can leave the isolation wing of the village, after which she can begin practising for the women’s skeleton competition beginning Feb. 12.

“Our main goal was to get Kim to the Olympic Village in Yanqing as quickly as possible,” Belgian Olympic delegation leader Olav Spahl said via the Associated Press. “We are therefore very pleased that this has now been successfully achieved. We understand that the COVID measures are necessary to safeguard the safety and health of participants in the Games, but we believe that the athlete should always be at the center of such an approach.”

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This is Meylemans’ second Olympic Games after finishing 14th in women’s skeleton in Pyeongchang in 2018.

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