Beijing begins to test venues for 2022 Winter Olympics


Local team players compete in a curling competition during a test event for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics at National Aquatic Center, also known as the “Water Cube” in Beijing, Thursday, April 1, 2021. Chinese capital hold a 10 days test events for 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in five different venues from April 1-10, becomes the first city to hold both the Winter and Summer Olympics. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — The organizers of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics started 10 days of testing Thursday for the hockey and other indoor venues.

A curling mixed doubles competition was held at the refashioned “Water Cube,” where an ice surface has been laid over the pool that hosted the swimming events at the 2008 Olympics.

Men’s hockey players drilled at the nearby National Indoor Stadium, another venue built for the 2008 Games. Figure skating and speedskating venues will also be given a run-through during the April 1-10 test events.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, only Chinese athletes are participating in the test events, which normally would attract top international competitors who want to get a feel for the venues before the Olympics.

Questions remain about whether and how the Olympics should be held amid the pandemic. This year’s Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to go ahead, but without any fans from overseas. Beijing organizers have pledged a safe Olympics, but have not announced details yet on any virus-related restrictions that might be put in place.

China has strict rules that limit who can come into the country. Anyone who does, with very limited exceptions, must quarantine for 14 days in a designated hotel. Journalists covering the test events were required to get temperature checks before entering the venues and wear face masks inside.

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