scorecardOlympians are slamming the Beijing quarantine hotel over 'unreasonable' conditions and poor food quality
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Olympians are slamming the Beijing quarantine hotel over 'unreasonable' conditions and poor food quality

Scott Davis   

Olympians are slamming the Beijing quarantine hotel over 'unreasonable' conditions and poor food quality
Sports2 min read
Olympic athletes who test positive for COVID-19 isolate at a separate hotel where conditions have been criticized.    Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
  • Olympians have complained about the conditions at a COVID-19 quarantine hotel in Beijing.
  • Athletes have complained of poor food, small spaces, bad WiFi, and a lack of training equipment.

Athletes at the Beijing Olympics have been less than satisfied with the conditions at the quarantine hotel for Olympians who test positive for COVID-19.

Russian biathlon competitor Valeria Vasnetsova posted on Instagram complaining about the quality of the food, The Associated Press reported on Saturday.

Vasnetsova on Thursday posted a photo of the food that she had been served for five straight days — plain pasta, an orange sauce, meat, and potatoes, with no greens, The AP reported.

"My stomach hurts, I'm very pale and I have huge black circles around my eyes," Vasnetsova said. "I want all this to end. I cry every day. I'm very tired."

Vasnetsova, whose Instagram is now private, reportedly said that after picking at the pasta, she eventually ate all the food because she had lost weight and bones "sticking out."

After German Nordic combined skier Eric Frenzel tested positive for COVID-19, his coach Dirk Schimmelpfennig called the conditions at the isolation hotel "unreasonable," according to The AP.

Inside the Games reported that Schimmelpfennig had requested that Frenzel, a three-time gold medalist, be moved to a bigger room with better WiFi and food.

Eric Frenzel competes at the Nordic combined in 2022.
Eric Frenzel was sent to the COVID-19 isolation hotel at the Beijing Olympics.      Hendrik Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director for the International Olympic Committee, said the conditions were "not good enough" and that the committee had been working to improve them, Inside the Games reported.

"It is very unfortunate that it affected an athlete, it has been addressed and let's be very thorough in the future to make sure that internet conditions, food and size of the rooms, equipment for training and everything is perfect for the athletes who do suffer from the conditions."

Dubi added, "A lot of improvements have been made."

Vasnetsova is still in quarantine, but after her video, the food quality has increased and she is happier, according to The AP. She is also reportedly getting a stationary bike brought to her room so she can train.

The Olympics are being held in what's been dubbed a "closed loop," in which all athletes and staff are contained in a bubble-like format to avoid interacting with the public. Olympians, staff, and media are not allowed to leave certain contained spaces.

The COVID-19 policies in Beijing have caused some confusion, with some athletes who test positive for COVID-19 moved to the isolation hotel while some have stayed in the Olympic village. Others with symptoms have been moved to a hospital.

Belgian skeleton racer Kim Meylemans had posted a tearful video explaining how she had been sent to an isolation hotel after testing positive for COVID-19 upon landing in China. After returning the required three negative tests to end her isolation, she was then moved to another hotel where she was told to isolate longer.

"On the way to the village, we did not turn to the village, but the ambulance went to another facility where I am now," Meylemans said.

She added: "I am supposed to stay here for another seven days with two PCRs a day and no contact with anybody else. I am allowed to slide alone. We are not even sure I will ever be allowed to return to the village."

The Belgian Olympic Committee and IOC stepped in to remedy the situation, and Meylemans said she was later returned to the Olympic village where she felt "safe."