Beijing pledged to step up its medical and health services together with 2022 Winter Olympics co-host Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, to meet the unique challenges posed by the Games－including teaching more medical professionals how to ski.
With its aerial tricks and thrilling action, the risky nature of winter sports provides a feast for fans but demands that organizers put in place sophisticated medical support and first-aid services.
With three years to go before the Games, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics organizing committee has joined hands with local health and sports authorities to develop medical and rescue service standards, teach venue medical staff members how to ski and make emergency preparations for the Olympics, which will be held in downtown Beijing, its northwestern Yanqing district and Zhangjiakou’s Chongli mountain district.
The organizing committee announced on Jan 24 that it has selected 41 hospitals and seven disease prevention and blood supply facilities across the three zones, recommended by Beijing municipal and Hebei provincial health commissions, to be official medical partners of the Games.
Each facility will open an Olympic green lane staffed by doctors and first-aid professionals specializing in sports medicine to provide timely treatment, the committee said.
The medical service providers will also work with venue operators and local governments to streamline transport routes both on the ground and in the air in case a helicopter rescue is needed.
“Winter sports athletes are more vulnerable to severe injuries than their summer counterparts, while we are lacking this particular type of medical expertise as a young winter sports country,” said Zhang Jiandong, a vice-mayor of Beijing and executive vice-president of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee.
“To improve medical support, especially for alpine events, we will take action early to train our staff, make plans in advance for rehearsals during test events and optimize medical resources.”
English speaking skills and ski training are two fundamental requirements for the medical teams that will be based in the Yanqing and Chongli districts, where most of the snow events will be held, according to the organizing committee’s Games service department.
Beijing’s downtown area will stage all the ice sports in 2022.
A group of 30 medical professionals from Beijing who are candidates to provide rescue services are now receiving ski instruction at a resort in Chongli, while the Hebei Health Commission revealed that a program guided by its provincial sports bureau has trained 300 similar medical workers.
During a test organized in early 2018, only six medical workers among all the staff members from 45 hospitals and medical stations in Beijing and Hebei stood out as advanced skiers, indicating a training gap.
“In addition to staff training, we also established a series of standards, such as the time limit for delivering injured athletes from venues to the nearest treatment venue, which will be fine-tuned through practice events starting at the end of this year,” said Yu Debin, director of the Games’ service department.
The organizing committee also said on Jan 24 that it has signed service contracts with 101 hotels in three zones as official hospitality partners to accommodate International Olympic Committee officials, technical officials from respective sports federations, media, VIP guests and ordinary spectators.
Signed hotels will work on details such as a clean food supply that aligns with global tastes, special laundry for winter sports clothing and multilingual services, Yu said.