International athletes enjoy life on and off arenas at Beijing 2022

Updated: February 4, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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BEIJING, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- While every Olympian may feel stress as they compete with the best athletes in the world, many of them are enjoying their life in Beijing, including the great venues and like-minded friends, and praised the strict epidemic countermeasures that are keeping them safe.

For freestyle skier Oskar Elofsson of Sweden, who will make his debut in the Olympics, Beijing 2022 is like a surreal experience. "It feels amazing. I've dreamed of this for a very long time. Now all of a sudden everything is happening."

Regarding the course, the 23-year-old Swede noted: "It's super nice. It's probably the best moguls course I've ever skied. Everything is so perfectly shaped and it's just so good and so much fun."

His brother, Felix Elofsson, a two-time Olympian in freestyle skiing, also spoke highly of the snow in Zhangjiakou after his first training session. "The conditions are really good. The snow is so dry and so grippy. It is interesting and fun, because it can be very firm but still not icy. It's pretty cool."

Canadian freestyle skier Evan McEachran was impressed by the Big Air Shougang as well. "It doesn't really feel like you're riding on the metal, it's like riding on the slope. Everything's perfect, super safe, so it's like kind of a dream."

Ahead of the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, curling and ice hockey events have already kicked off in the capital city.

After the Czech women's ice hockey team finished their first contest, Dominika Laskova, the team's defender, lauded the competition venue. "The rink is really nice and I heard a lot of people saying that it is super fast as well. So I think it's a really good arena here with everything around the gym."

"It's a good game. It's just awesome to be here and we enjoy every single moment here in China," Laskova added.

Off the rinks and courses, athletes also find their life in Beijing secure and joyful.

In recent years, running competitions in a 'bubble' become common due to the pandemic. For McEachran, Beijing 2022's closed-loop management is similar to other bubbles.

"When you get into the bubble in the Athletes' Village and you feel pretty comfortable knowing that everyone is tested every day. And everyone's wearing masks and sitting there doing a great job. I think it's going to be a nice and safe Games," McEachran added.

And for Dusty Henricksen, a snowboard athlete from the United States, living in the village is a very novel experience, and he especially enjoys trading pins with fellow athletes. "It's really fun and unique that you don't get to experience in other contests for sure. I racked up 19 pins in one day. We're going to keep that number going."

Henricksen's teammate Chris Corning told a press conference at the Mountain Media Center in Zhangjiakou that he now has more time to hang out and chill out with friends.

"We hang out, we get to play cards and have fun with each other," said Corning.

"We're all enjoying it and doing the best that we can to enjoy every aspect, even though we have other things going on. We try to have fun and make it less stressful because the Olympics can be a stressful time," he added.

Editor: Duan Jing