More than 20 world leaders attended the opening ceremony, including His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
He was invited by the Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In an editorial on Saturday, Gulf News said, “Organising this type of event, a massive gathering of sportsmen and women in one place, is extremely challenging under the current circumstances, when the coronavirus variants continue to register record numbers of new infections every day.
This year’s Games, however, seems to have got off to a fantastic start with all measures in place to ensure the safety of those taking part in the tournament.
The Games take place inside a tightly-controlled atmosphere, informally known as the ‘bubble’.
It is an advanced quarantine system that prevents unwanted contact with those from outside the bubble,” read the editorial.
Also, as part of the measure, the Games, for the first time, have no spectators.
There are by-invitation-only attendees.
China is not taking any chances.
The health of thousands of participants could be at stake.
Then there is the man-made snow.
The Beijing Olympics is the first winter games to use almost 100 percent artificial snow.
The organisers use dozens of snow generators and hundreds of snowblowers to create 1.
2 million cubic metres of powder.
Interestingly, analysts say the process may actually be ‘the norm’ for future Olympics because of the rising global warming.
As many past sport events, the Beijing Olympics have not been without own controversy.
Several countries, led by the United States, are diplomatically boycotting the opening and closing ceremonies for political reasons.
While it is their sovereign decision to choose boycott, the Olympics should be shielded from politics.
It is the biggest global gathering in the world of sports that represents the ideals of honest competition and fraternity.
Athletes wait and train for years for a chance to be part of the Games.
Denying them the chance to be part of these prestigious games for political reasons is not justified.
The Dubai-based daily concluded by saying, “This tournament in particular must be cheered on as it represents the world’s triumph over the ruthless pandemic.