AUSTIN (KXAN) – With one month before the start of the Winter Olympics, COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the world as the omicron variant spreads, but deaths are on a downward trend according to Worldometer data.
Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, told USA Today on Monday that there was “no indication” that the Olympics would be canceled, but the possibility of doing so remains.
US Speedskating announced this week that it will ban all spectators from watching its January 5-9 practice as a COVID-19 precaution.
“It is vital that we continue to focus on the health and well-being of our athletes,” said US Speedskating Executive Director Ted Morris. “Our ability to create a competitive bubble gives us the best possible situation to protect our athletes while giving them the opportunity to qualify for the Beijing team at the Olympic trials. We value the understanding of parents, fans and the media so that we can provide the best possible environment for our athletes. “
The Tokyo Olympics cracked down on fans during the Games last year, only allowing people from the host country to attend under strict security measures related to COVID-19. And athletes, coaches and staff did live and compete in a “bubble”, where they were only allowed in certain areas of the Olympic Village and competition spaces.
COVID-19 has also affected athletes as they prepare for the Games. Double gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin tested positive nine days ago and was cleared this week to compete in the Women’s World Cup in Croatia, according to the Associated Press. But, her teammate Nina O’Brien has now tested positive and is due to withdraw from the slalom on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the United States men’s hockey team announced their new head coach at the end of December. David Quinn, who was previously named an assistant coach and worked with the New York Rangers, will now step up efforts after the National Hockey League announced it would not send players or coaches to the Games , according to the Associated Press, concerned that an increase in COVID-19 cases could disrupt its season. The AP reports that the decision taken in mid-December was a sharp turnaround from an earlier deal between the NHL, the union, the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation that would allow these players to participate. NHL players also did not participate in the Pyeongchang Games in 2018.
On the women’s side of the sport, USA Hockey has announced its final roster the first of the year. It includes eight first-time Olympians and 15 who have already competed in the Games, according to a statement posted on its website. He said the United States team had won medals at every Games since the addition of women’s hockey in 1998.
Busy day on February 13
The Winter Olympics begin the first week of February and this year coincides with another big televised event: the Super Bowl. We want to know – which one will you watch? Vote in our Twitter poll below:
WOOD-TV Athletic Director Jack Doles joins us to discuss this big day, as well as his take on the latest Olympic news at 9:00 a.m. CT.