‘I Cry Every Day’: Olympians Blast Conditions at Beijing’s Quarantine Hotels

Winter Olympic athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 are having enough of Beijing’s quarantine hotels. “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 very tired,” said Russian biathlon competitor Valeria Vasnetsova on Instagram from one of the hotels. A picture she posted on Feb. 3 showed a tray of plain pasta, orange sauce, charred meat on a bone, a few potatoes, and no greens. That had been her “breakfast, lunch, and dinner for five days,” she said. Vasnetsova said she was starving because it was “impossible” to eat much of the food, and she was surviving on a few bites of the pasta. “Today I ate all the fat they serve instead of meat because I was very hungry,” she said, adding that she was losing so much weight that her “bones are already sticking out.” Vasnetsova, the Russian athlete, also believed that other athletes were getting worse fare. She shared a photo of food served to her team doctor living two floors below who also tested positive. The meals consisted of fresh fruit, a salad, and prawns with broccoli. “I honestly don’t understand, why is there this attitude to us, the athletes?!” she said. Vasnetsova was far from the only one complaining. Unpalatable food or the sheer scarcity of it, along with hygiene and others issues have made Beijing’s Olympic quarantine hotels the target of criticism. More than 350 Olympic participants have tested positive since Jan. 23 upon arriving at China’s capital. To get out of quarantine, athletes need to be symptom-free and present two negative tests 24 hours apart. When Eric Frenzel, a Nordic combined skier who has won three Olympic gold medals, headed into an isolation room after testing positive on Friday, his team quickly found the conditions there to be “unacceptable.” Cleanliness, the quality of food, and WiFi conditions all need immediate improvement, Germany’s team chief Dirk Schimmelpfennig told reporters on the following day. He added that the team has been in “intensive talks” with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Beijing Olympic organizers. People wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), stand inside Beijing Capital International Airport ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Jan. 31, 2022. (Phil Noble/Reuters) “The hotel room is unacceptable, so we will have to find a way to change this,” said Schimmelpfennig from the Olympic Village in Zhangjiakou city of Hebei Province. “These hotels were not shown to us in advance and we have the situation that the athletes rightly ask for improvement,” Schimmelpfennig said. The public attention has worked in the athletes’ favor. After Belgian skeleton star Kim Meylemans’s tearful social media video about being transported to a second quarantine location when she thought she was getting released, the IOC intervened, and she was given a room to self-isolate inside the Beijing Olympic Village. Belgian skeleton athlete Kim Meylemans pictured at the departure of athletes of Team Belgium to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem on Jan. 29, 2022. (Laurie Dieffembacq/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images) Meylemans on Thursday said she feels “safe” after getting back to the village. “It seems like the video and especially also the efforts of my Olympic committee have really paid off,” she said in an Instagram video. Meal conditions for Vasnetsova appeared to have improved as well, according to the spokesperson for her team, Sergei Averyanov. Two days after her complaints, Averyanov posted a picture showing salmon, cucumbers, sausages, and yogurt for Vasnetsova. Vasnetsova “is already smiling, and that’s the main thing,” he wrote in a social media post. The Associated Press contributed to this report. China Reporter Follow Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at [email protected]

‘I Cry Every Day’: Olympians Blast Conditions at Beijing’s Quarantine Hotels

Winter Olympic athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 are having enough of Beijing’s quarantine hotels.

“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 very tired,” said Russian biathlon competitor Valeria Vasnetsova on Instagram from one of the hotels.

A picture she posted on Feb. 3 showed a tray of plain pasta, orange sauce, charred meat on a bone, a few potatoes, and no greens. That had been her “breakfast, lunch, and dinner for five days,” she said.

Vasnetsova said she was starving because it was “impossible” to eat much of the food, and she was surviving on a few bites of the pasta.

“Today I ate all the fat they serve instead of meat because I was very hungry,” she said, adding that she was losing so much weight that her “bones are already sticking out.”

Vasnetsova, the Russian athlete, also believed that other athletes were getting worse fare. She shared a photo of food served to her team doctor living two floors below who also tested positive. The meals consisted of fresh fruit, a salad, and prawns with broccoli.

“I honestly don’t understand, why is there this attitude to us, the athletes?!” she said.

Vasnetsova was far from the only one complaining. Unpalatable food or the sheer scarcity of it, along with hygiene and others issues have made Beijing’s Olympic quarantine hotels the target of criticism.

More than 350 Olympic participants have tested positive since Jan. 23 upon arriving at China’s capital. To get out of quarantine, athletes need to be symptom-free and present two negative tests 24 hours apart.

When Eric Frenzel, a Nordic combined skier who has won three Olympic gold medals, headed into an isolation room after testing positive on Friday, his team quickly found the conditions there to be “unacceptable.”

Cleanliness, the quality of food, and WiFi conditions all need immediate improvement, Germany’s team chief Dirk Schimmelpfennig told reporters on the following day. He added that the team has been in “intensive talks” with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Beijing Olympic organizers.

Beijing Capital International Airport ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
People wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), stand inside Beijing Capital International Airport ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Jan. 31, 2022. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

“The hotel room is unacceptable, so we will have to find a way to change this,” said Schimmelpfennig from the Olympic Village in Zhangjiakou city of Hebei Province.

“These hotels were not shown to us in advance and we have the situation that the athletes rightly ask for improvement,” Schimmelpfennig said.

The public attention has worked in the athletes’ favor. After Belgian skeleton star Kim Meylemans’s tearful social media video about being transported to a second quarantine location when she thought she was getting released, the IOC intervened, and she was given a room to self-isolate inside the Beijing Olympic Village.

BOIC COIB WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES BEIJING 2022 DEPARTURE
Belgian skeleton athlete Kim Meylemans pictured at the departure of athletes of Team Belgium to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem on Jan. 29, 2022. (Laurie Dieffembacq/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images)

Meylemans on Thursday said she feels “safe” after getting back to the village. “It seems like the video and especially also the efforts of my Olympic committee have really paid off,” she said in an Instagram video.

Meal conditions for Vasnetsova appeared to have improved as well, according to the spokesperson for her team, Sergei Averyanov.

Two days after her complaints, Averyanov posted a picture showing salmon, cucumbers, sausages, and yogurt for Vasnetsova.

Vasnetsova “is already smiling, and that’s the main thing,” he wrote in a social media post.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at [email protected]