Team USA has completed its parade through the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Winter Games, but only after a some last-second substitutions due to COVID-19.
US bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor had to give up her spot as flagbearer to speedskater Brittany Bowe, who carried out the duties alongside curler John Shuster. Meyers Taylor remains in isolation after a positive test.
Similarly, US Virgin Islands skeleton athlete Katie Tannenbaum revealed that she, too, has tested positive for COVID-19. The Virgin Islands flag was being carried into the stadium by a volunteer. Tannenbaum is the only athlete representing the Virgin Islands in Beijing at these games. Her coach, Alex Auer, and the nation’s Chef de Mission, Ansen Siglar, were walking to represent the team.
About 80 percent of the U.S. team’s athletes signed up to go to Friday’s opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics, dimming any notion that they would skip the celebration in a show of protest.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said 177 of its 223 athletes wanted to go to the ceremony at the Bird’s Nest.
Flagbearers of team USA during the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games at the National Stadium, also known as Bird’s Nest, in Beijing China
US bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor had to give up her spot as flagbearer to speedskater Brittany Bowe. Meyers Taylor remains in isolation after a positive test
Athletes of the USA arrive for the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games at the National Stadium, also known as Bird’s Nest, in Beijing China
Flag bearers Brittany Bowe and John Shuster of Team United States carry their flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at the Beijing National Stadium on February 04, 2022 in Beijing, China.
Not a single athlete who qualified chose not to come, leaving the political statements to the U.S. government, which will not send dignitaries to the Games in protest of China’s human-rights record and other issues.
At a news conference in Beijing, held hours before the opening, CEO Sarah Hirshland said the athletes have been briefed – some of them multiple times – about the laws and customs of China and have been advised to make their own choices when it comes to protesting or demonstrating on Chinese soil.
‘We want to make sure that the athletes understand the IOC guidelines and the rules of the games that they’re signing up for in that environment,’ Hirshland said.
Chief of sport performance Rick Adams said that having nearly 80 percent of the delegation at the opening could be close to a record. It’s not uncommon for athletes to skip because they have competition the next day, are staying far away, or compete late in the Olympics and haven’t even arrived.
thletes of the USA arrive for the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games at the National Stadium
Back in the States, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decried China’s human-rights record, but said athletes should focus on their sports instead of speaking out.
‘Do not risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government because they are ruthless,’ Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s comments were not a subject Hirshland was willing to touch.
‘The piece of the comments she made that I was grateful for was, she wished Team USA good luck and said they’ve got the support of their country, and that’s what we’re looking for,’ Hirshland said.
Days after quietly ringing in the Chinese New Year, Beijing is celebrating the Year of the Tiger on the Olympic stage.
The tiger – a symbol of strength and good luck in Chinese folklore – was featured during Friday’s Winter Olympic opening ceremony. The placard bearers for all 91 countries in the Parade of Nations each wore a unique tiger-head hat, and a children’s choir was outfitted in traditional tiger-head shoes made in the northern Hebei province.
Celebrations for the Lunar New Year were muted across Asia on Monday amid concerns over the coronavirus, but hopes are high that the Year of the Tiger might return some sense of normalcy.
In Chinese mythology, the tiger is considered the king of all animals, and tiger-head hats and shoes are commonly worn by children to ward off demons and bring good luck. The hats created for the placard bearers Friday were designed in blue and white to represent snow and ice, while the shoes worn by the choir were a bright combo of orange, yellow and green.
Once again, NBC is carrying the Games in the United States.
Overall, the network plans to show more than 2,800 hours of coverage across its channels and platforms. Those include NBC, USA, CNBC, NBCOlympics.com and the streaming app Peacock.
Delegation from the United States takes part in the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games
Bowe was having quite an Olympics – before she even hit the ice.
First, she claimed another speedskating race in Beijing – or, more appropriately, reclaimed it – when a third spot opened up for the Americans in the 500 meters.
Then, Bowe was selected to be one of the U.S. flagbearers in Friday night’s opening ceremony at the Bird’s Nest stadium after the original choice, bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, was forced into isolation by a positive COVID-19 test.
‘It’s a shame that Elana can’t do it because we all felt she was the deserving front-runner to have that honor,’ U.S. speedskating coach Ryan Shimabukuro said after Friday’s training session at the Ice Ribbon oval, which Bowe skipped to rest up for her evening duties.
‘But Brittany is obviously taking that responsibility seriously and she’s going to lead that delegation like the champion she is. I think there’s no better runner-up than Brittany to do that.’
Bowe, a six-time world champion and bronze medalist at the 2018 Winter Games, finished first in the 500 at the U.S. trials last month. But she gave up her Olympic spot after event favorite Erin Jackson slipped in her heat and shockingly finished third overall.
At the time, the Americans only had two guaranteed spots in the event, so Bowe withdrew to ensure that Jackson got a chance to skate in Beijing.
However, the U.S. picked up a third skater after the International Skating Union recently issued its final allotments.
So Bowe is back in, joining Jackson and Kimi Goetz.
Jackson, the first Back woman to win a World Cup race, is one of the gold-medal favorites in the 500.
Bowe’s best races are the 1,000 and 1,500, both of which are considered strong medal possibilities for the 33-year-old Floridian.
But she’s no slouch in the 500, which made her original withdrawal all the more poignant to Jackson and Bowe’s other teammates.
‘All things considered, to give up an opportunity for a medal is insane,’ Joey Mantia said with a smile after his training session. ‘What she did was absolutely crazy. I think it´s an amazing gesture that she was able to bring herself to do, and not knowing for sure if she was going to get that spot or not because our criteria for how we get spots is a little open-ended up until the last minute.’
To Mantia, that made it all the more fitting that Bowe got a chance to carry the U.S. flag along with curler John Shuster.
‘She definitely deserves it,’ Mantia said. ‘We were pushing hard for her, so it was really nice to see that.’
Let the Games begin! Team USA arrives for the opening ceremonies at Beijing Winter Olympics appeared first on maserietv.com.