Olympic athletes are exposing the disturbing measures China is taking in an attempt to hold a “COVID-free” Olympics.
According to the UK Daily Mail, dozens of athletes said they had experienced inhumane conditions while in isolation due to positive COVID-19 tests.
Russian biathlete Valeria Vasnetsova said she was served an extremely small and unappealing meal three times a day for five days while she was in isolation. By the end, she said her “bones [were] sticking out,” the Daily Mail reported.
Vasnetsova posted a picture of the unsavory meal she was provided to Instagram.
Is China using quarantines to rig the Olympics?
A Russian athlete, Valeria Vasnetsova, has blown the whistle.
She says foreign athletes who test positive for covid are being starved, so they can't compete even if they recover. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/tM79dQZEID
— Clint Ehrlich (@ClintEhrlich) February 5, 2022
Polish speed skater Natalia Maliszewska had a similarly terrible experience. She said she was repeatedly moved into and out of isolation due to conflicting results from the unreliable COVID-19 tests being used in China.
One particular night was burned into her memory. She was woken up in the middle of the night and told she would be able to return to the Olympic Village, but officials then reversed their decision and sent her back to isolation.
“I was sitting in the ambulance,” Maliszewska told the Daily Mail. “It was 3am. I was crying like crazy because I didn’t know what was going on. I did not feel safe at all.”
Finland men’s hockey head coach Jukka Jalonen told Yahoo! Sports that one of his players, Marko Anttila, remained in isolation on Sunday despite the fact that 18 days had passed since his positive test.
“We know that he’s fully healthy and ready to go and that’s why we think that China, for some reason, they won’t respect his human rights, and that’s not a great situation,” Jalonen said.
He added that Anttila was “not getting food” during his isolation and said the treatment was causing significant mental stress for him.
As of Sunday, over 350 Olympic participants had tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving in Beijing, Yahoo reported. This includes athletes, journalists and other Olympic staff members.
Upon receiving a positive test, participants must go to special hotels to isolate themselves. They cannot leave until they have no symptoms and have received two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart.
In addition to the stringent quarantine rules, many athletes have said the restrictions are not even as clear as they sound. Just like Maliszewska, Belgian skeleton athlete Kim Meylemans was told she could leave isolation only to be put back in quarantine once again.
According to a separate Yahoo! Sports article, Meylemans tested positive for COVID-19 last week. During her 80 hours of isolation, she tested negative multiple times, seemingly proving the first test was a false positive result.
On Wednesday, officials told her she was allowed to leave and return to the Olympic Village. However, when she got into an emergency vehicle expecting to be taken there, she was instead transported to a separate isolation facility.
Meylemans posted an emotional video to Instagram describing her situation. She feared she may never be allowed to return to the Olympic Village.
— Rob Koehler (@RobKoehler2) February 2, 2022
Late Wednesday night, officials came to Meylemans room and took her to the village, Yahoo reported. However, the mental toll had already been taken.
The most important issue with this kind of mistreatment has to do with human rights. No innocent person should be forced to endure the mental stress of indefinite isolation or the physical consequences of food deprivation.
But on top of human rights concerns, this treatment also threatens the competitive integrity of the Olympic Games. Even if these athletes are released from isolation in time for their events, they are most likely at a severe disadvantage from mental and physical stress.
Since China is hosting the games and the International Olympic Committee is notoriously unreliable, there is no one who can be trusted to monitor this situation. Who’s to stop China from starving other countries’ athletes while providing top-notch care for their own?
All of these concerns are both valid and pressing, but that is the predictable result of allowing a communist regime to host one of the world’s largest sporting events.