Canadian athletes begin to arrive in Beijing for 2022 Olympic Games

·2 min read
A member of the Canadian Olympic contingent makes his way through the Beijing airport after arriving for the 2022 Winter Olympics in this image from video.  (CBC News Network - image credit)
A member of the Canadian Olympic contingent makes his way through the Beijing airport after arriving for the 2022 Winter Olympics in this image from video. (CBC News Network - image credit)

Canada's first contingent of athletes landed in Beijing on Thursday, just about a week ahead of the opening ceremony for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

It will be the fourth Olympics for moguls skier Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, but the first under the spectre of a pandemic.

"The road was not easy but we're really grateful to be able to go to these Olympics and we're going to have fun, so we're really excited," the 30-year-old Montrealer told CBC News.

The group of athletes flew on an Air Canada charter plane from Vancouver, on which N95 masks were mandatory.

WATCH | Canadian athletes arrive at Beijing airport:

Per Canadian Olympic Committee guidelines, every Canadian athlete must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to compete in Beijing. Meanwhile, Olympic organizers mandated that each athlete supply two negative tests within 96 hours of boarding the plane, plus one more upon arrival in China.

To meet those requirements, Canadian freestyle skiing coach Jim Schiman said he hasn't even returned to his house during the opportunities between the busy international World Cup schedule when he's had to go home in the past couple of months.

"I have young kids that are in school," he said. "It's been a lot of precautions for us."

The Canadian Olympic contingent had its own check-in counter at the airport, while its departure gate was cordoned off from the general public. One more group of athletes was scheduled to depart today.

Canadian Chef de Mission Catriona Le May Doan said the strict precautions don't come as a surprise to athletes.

"They're willing to take those precautions because these are the Olympic Games and this is where they want to shine," she said.

Athletes who recovered from COVID-19 within the last 30 days also had to supply two additional negative tests from at least eight days ago. The threshold to produce a negative test in Beijing was recently reduced by organizers to a level standard across many places in Canada.

However, athletes who test positive in Beijing will be sent either directly to a hospital or quarantine centre, depending on symptoms.

WATCH | Canadian Olympians depart for Beijing:

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