China put out its Olympic flame at Beijing National Stadium on Sunday night (February 20th) to mark the end of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
At this year’s Winter Olympics, Norway finished first in the medal standings, setting a new national record with 16 gold, eight silver, and 13 bronze medals (or 37 in total).
Germany finished second with 12 gold, ten silver, and five bronze medals (27 in whole). China’s squad came in third with nine gold, four silver, and two bronze medals (15 in total).
Nikkei Asia reported the closing ceremony began at 8 p.m. local time on Sunday at Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, where nearly 3,000 performers performed.
China President Xi Jinping entered the stadium along with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and other officials, but few foreign leaders were seen.
In his concluding remarks, Bach praised the host country for a fantastic Olympics and emphasized the need for unity.
He said, “You embraced each other, even if your countries are divided by conflict. The unifying power of the Olympic Games is stronger than the forces that want to divide us: you give peace a chance.”
Before his speech, Bach presented the IOC flag to Giuseppe Sala, the mayor of Milan, Italy, which will host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The organizers declared victory by fending off a massive COVID-19 outbreak that might have ruined Beijing 2022 by enclosing the Olympic venues in a closed-loop that kept roughly 10,000 athletes and officials away from the public.
However, the China-hosted showcase was not all smooth.
Cheering crowds were kept to a minimum due to virus limitations, with international spectators forbidden from attending. There were complaints about bad food and lodgings.
Natalia Maliszewska, a Polish speed skater, stated that she was released the night unexpectedly before the preliminary round and was later recalled to a quarantine facility a few hours before the competition after testing positive.
She tweeted, “I have been living in fear for over a week, and these mood swings, the crying that takes my breath away, make it not only the people around me worry about me but myself alone. 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. My heart can’t take it anymore. Thank you. See you soon.”
Maliszewska is not the only athlete who has expressed dissatisfaction with the Beijing isolation conditions. Complaints also are concerning living conditions and food and drink in the Olympic Village.
Valeria Vasnetsova, a Russian biathlete, complained on Instagram about the poor quality of the meals, while Eric Frenzel, a German Nordic combined skier, called the isolation hotel’s circumstances “unreasonable.”
Valeria said that the same meal has been served at the Winter Olympics in Beijing for “breakfast, lunch, and dinner for five days already.” Her food consisted of macaroni, potatoes, charred bone-in grilled meat, and no vegetables.
She wrote: ‘My stomach hurts, I’m very pale, and I have huge black circles around my eyes. I want all this to end. I cry every day. I’m exhausted.’
Finnish skier Katri Lylynperä, on February 10th, shared some short stories on Instagram about the condition of her room in the Olympic Village.
The footage demonstrated showering water leakage from the ceiling, flooding the entire floor.
One of the videos featured on Lylynperä’s Instagram page was also captioned with the word “Help.” There was also the scene of Olympic staff in protective clothing coming to clean the leakage.
Foxsports reported that the Chinese authorities later approached the Finnish athlete and told her to delete the post.
In the run-up to the Games, the IOC has been criticized for awarding the Olympics to China amid the concerns that this country is alleged to genocide Uyghur Muslims, repress democracy in Hong Kong, and suppress freedom of expression.
Due to charges of human rights violations in China, the United States and a few Western allies, notably Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, refused to send officials to the opening ceremony.
For the duration of the Olympics, China spared any protests by competitors over its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority.
Thousands of international journalists on hand were trapped inside the closed-loop, unable to report more broadly.