Thursday, January 13, 2022


Talk about backwards! We are now about 2 weeks from when I am supposed to depart for the Winter Olympics in Beijing and I still do not have my flights or hotel locked in yet. 

Weirdly enough, I just received my credentials for the Beijing Games. Under normal circumstances, when I receive this coveted credential via UPS, I celebrate this as the culmination of years of planning and the signal that it is almost "go time".

This time around, it appears that I am doing things backwards. 

Credentials? Check! 

Everything else? Well...nope!

But I do have some good news to share with you all:


I did hear back from Japan Airlines and they are holding a seat for me on a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo (seems like I was just there) and then connecting to Beijing. And a return flight the day of the closing ceremony. I have yet to see an actual reservation, and I have not paid for the ticket yet, but I have confidence that this will happen.


Initially it looked like my only option for a hotel in Beijing was through the USOPC and going to cost me $400 a night. Since I am there for 3 weeks, that would total more than $8000. Yikes! When I saw that, I then went onto the Olympic AMS (Accommodation Management System) web site to request something a little more reasonable. Only to see that the organizing committee has stopped booking reservations as of 12.27. Uh oh!

The good news is that the people who run the AMS site sent me a list of approved hotels and let me contact them directly. I have found several options that are more affordable and hope to get something booked soon.

And here is some bad news:


China is requiring that we have special Covid tests that must be performed at pre-determined labs around the country. I called to get more information on these tests and found out that they will cost $600 for the two tests. What the heck? I think someone is profiting off this pandemic!


Unless you live under a rock, you have heard about the massive spread of the Omicron variant of Covid around the world. And now China has locked down approximately 20 million people in their country to keep the virus from spreading and interrupting the Olympic Games. I have heard of some press who have already arrived in Beijing (testing negative before taking off) and testing positive on arrival. This means that they have to quarantine in less than desirable conditions. This scares the heck out of me! I even know of many of my friends who have Covid now, and I am doing my best to hole up at home and stay as safe as I can. But I do have some events to shoot and will likely double mask to protect myself as best as I can in the mean time. 


Knowing that the Olympics is a 3 week span of sleep deprivation, I usually try to rest up before the big trip. But with all of this stress, I have been waking up at all hours of the night. The only good thing about this is that I can communicate with the people in China, since they are working when we should be sleeping. 


I thought I would have everything wrapped up by now, but it appears that I have another week of work ahead of me. I promise to keep you all updated.


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genomeboy said...

I’ve flown enough on United in 2021 to
Make 1K. I’m vaccinated x3. I’m not an alarmist. But frankly, imo China is too much of a wildcard. Have you considered bagging this assignment? I follow hockey. With the NHL out, I don’t think I can name one player
On our squad. Interest will be very low I predict, and there is 0 chance China wil be able to prevent this spread. Your best hope is if you are 3x vaccinated with Moderna, the only vax that seems to have reasonable activity to prevent infection (all seem to do a good job against severe illness). Is this job worth the risk of catching (even a mild infection there) and being subject to draconian isolation conditions?

Karlis said...

Don't double mask. This increases the risk of mask not fitting right (the upper mask is pushing the lower one in weird ways). Get an FFP3 (N99) respirator-type non-foldable mask with double loops around your head. And make sure it really, really fits. That might mean adjusting it for a few minutes initially and then readjusting it all day... But that offers the highest (reasonable) protection.

And no eating on the plane and at MPC. Don't be without a mask in any kind of public situation. Masks really help but you have to wear them all the time...

I hope you will find a reasonable hotel and everything will be ok with your flight! I'm looking forward to read your blog every day!

This year I'm not going. We decided to skip because of all this uncertainty. I was in Tokyo, it was my first Olympics. We stayed in the same hotel. Hi, Jeff! :)

Good luck!!

Mike Wagner said...

Having traveled quite a lot in China, they will do anything they can to get money from you. So to here the prices they are quoting for hotels and COVID tests seem pretty normal. You should take a translator with you that know how to work the system.

Seems like just yesterday we were enjoying the Tokyo Olympics

flwong said...

Chief. This sounds like it is going to be more tougher than the Tokyo 2020 with those requirements to go through. All the high cost sounds scary indeed. Take good care. Stay safe!

Jeff said...

Good Luck Jeff! If anyone can pull this off, my money is on you.

I am a bit disappointed that you haven't received more "help/assistance" from the US Olympic Committee to get you through some of these roadblocks.

Best wishes for a safe and fulfilling experience!!