Kristin Kloster Aasen thinks it is hopeless to talk about postponing the Olympics now.
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The Norwegian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) arrived in Beijing by plane via Zurich on Thursday. The 61-year-old from Oslo will be in the hotel room until she receives an answer to the corona test, which was taken when she landed in the Chinese capital.
– The Chinese are well prepared and have comprehensive measures for infection control in place. They work with the World Health Organization and us in the IOC. We support each other in making this happen. The goal is safe toys. The organizer is extremely well prepared, says Kloster Aasen to VG.
The 61-year-old was appointed by former IOC member Gerhard Heiberg to take over for him in 2017. Last year, she was elected to sit on the board of the IOC, which is the highest body in the organization.
The Olympic flame is lit in Beijing on Friday 4 February. At the same time, the omicron variant is ravaging large parts of the world and creating trouble for Olympic athletes from many nations.
Cross-country skiers Heidi Weng and Anne Kjersti Kalvå are in isolation in Italy after testing positive on the corona. On Thursday it became known that the golden hope Simen Hegstad Krüger also has a corona. Several Norwegian jumpers have retired positive coronatester.
1 of 4Photo: NOEL CELIS / AFP
– My impression is that everyone is careful. That we get some positive tests is very sad and I feel terrible pity for those concerned. This is an insidious thing for everyone, but it should be safe when you get within the areas you live and compete in here in China, says Kloster Aasen who was himself active as a rider.
She is a lawyer and has previously been president of the Norwegian Equestrian Federation.
In recent days, newspaper commentators like Leif Welhaven i VG, Jan Petter Saltvedt in NRK and Aftenposten’s Daniel Røed-Johansen wrote that the Olympics should have been postponed. Cross-country manager Espen Bjervig also believes that the Olympics should not be held now.
– The decision to implement was made a long time ago, says Kloster Aasen.
She thinks it’s too late to raise the issue just a few days before the games start. Many practitioners are already in place in China. On Thursday, a plane took off from Gardermoen with Norwegian athletes, runners and journalists heading for China.
– It is impossible to cancel now. It’s too close to the toys. If this had been discussed, they would have had to talk about it a long time ago, says Kloster Aasen.
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Ski president Erik Røste will go to China via Helsinki next Wednesday. He is also a board member of the International Ski Federation. He agrees with Kloster Aasen, now it is too late to talk about postponement.
– But I have no problem understanding that someone is taking it up now. But if you exceed the deadline for when you can postpone, then the train is gone, Røste says to VG.
Røste believes it was too late to postpone the Olympics when the super-infectious omicron came.
– A month ago, we had hardly heard of omikron, it is not just sports that were taken to bed, things were turned upside down, says Røste.
Røste feared the worst and understood that there was infection in the Norwegian cross-country squad when the press conference from Italy was postponed. Now he is waiting for the answer from a new corona test.
– We hope all the best are to start in Beijing, says Røste.
Johaug about the infection in the team: – Indescribable situation
Kloster Aasen believes that the Olympics in Tokyo last autumn showed that it is possible to host the Olympic Games in a pandemic, even if it is not easy.
– China is concerned with safe toys for athletes and good competitions. I was greeted by nice people with infection control equipment at the airport. Everyone is very nice and they appear proud to welcome us, says Kloster Aasen.