The 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing will be a decidedly Chinese-only event after the International Olympic Committee confirmed that there will be no international sales for tickets due to the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s extremely strict border restrictions.
The IOC also confirmed that athletes attending the Games, which start on February 4, that are not fully vaccinated will have to undertake 21-day quarantine, as per China’s current quarantine policies, unless those athletes can provide a “justified medical exemption”. All vaccinated athletes are exempt from quarantine on arrival.
The lack of fans due to the pandemic proved a dampener to the atmosphere and television spectacle at the recent Tokyo Olympics, so international broadcasters and sponsors will welcome the return of spectators to venues, although the prospect of an overwhelmingly Chinese-only event may prove divisive.
The IOC welcomed the decision to allow only Mainland Chinese fans to attend. “This will facilitate the growth of winter sports in China by giving those spectators a first-hand Olympic and Paralympic experience of elite winter sports, as well as bringing a favorable atmosphere to the venues,” the organization said in a statement.
The 2022 Olympic Winter Games will take place between Feb. 4 and 20, while the Paralympic Winter Games will be held from March 4 until 13.