In Olympic pickswe spotlight news, gossip and results from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Longtime resident of Beijing Richard N. Liu has been back in Beijing since returning to Canada in 2014 – this time to work for Team Canada at the 2022 Games.
Not only is he returning to the city he’s called home for more than 20 years, but he’s also working towards his second Beijing Olympics. He was a volunteer at the 2008 Games as well as a member of the Team Canada mission staff at the Paralympic Games. Now that he’s back and working like crazy to prepare for the big event, we asked him a few questions about life inside the “closed loop.”
What is your role this year at the Olympic Games?
I am part of the administrative staff of the mission staff of Team Canada.
What parts of the closed loop are you in – do you stay in a specific area or move from place to place?
I am part of our advance team, which arrived more than a week ago in the ‘Jing. We are located outside of the Olympic Village in a Performance Center but we have the ability to move from venue to venue and competition area to competition area within the closed loop using dedicated means of transport such as cars, buses and the high-speed train. train to Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.
As a lifelong Beijinger, how does it feel to be back in the city? Do you have any of the old “Beijing flavor” inside the loop?
It was awesome and amazing to see the blue sky during Lunar New Year! We have had jiaozi last night on Lunar New Year’s Eve, which almost brought me to tears. Oh how I missed you! And I haven’t received any yet. jianbing!
Speaking of food, what does the food look like in the loop? I imagine there must be so many different tastes and diets to adhere to.
As we are located outside of the village in a Performance Center we are staying in a hotel so the breakfast buffets are brilliant… so does my diet! I hope to find time to visit and experience the food and services closer to the games, as I have seen robots taking over the kitchen work.
What is the most impressive change you have noticed in Beijing?
I’ll let you know as soon as I leave the office! We have been working tirelessly during the pre-games to make sure everything is up and running for our athletes who have already started arriving.
I imagine you have a busy schedule – what does a typical day look like? Will you have breaks/free time to watch any of the games as a spectator?
I usually wake up early in the morning before the sun comes up, have my coffee and breakfast, then head to the office and work until 9pm…or longer if things get busy. We have an incredible team of Canadians from coast to coast at home and here on the pitch, and we keep each other energized and entertained. I took a half day off on Lunar New Year morning to talk with my family and friends and will probably do the same for the Lantern Festival. When things calm down, I hope to visit the Olympic Village and see a few sights if I’m lucky.
The organizers are taking impressive precautionary measures to ensure there is no Covid outbreak. How is it going for you in your daily schedule?
I had to start doing closed-loop bubble prep a few weeks before departure in my hometown of Burnaby, just outside of Vancouver, taking three PCR tests and getting a third booster (I threw a few extra shots like the flu shot as well), I’ve avoided large crowds since Christmas and had daily temperature checks. I also prayed a lot because there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to get on the plane if we had Covid or the health declaration was not confirmed. However, I luckily got the green light before leaving.
And how about after landing in Beijing?
We arrived at a very quiet airport in the capital of Beijing and were efficiently guided through the process, probably the quickest I have ever left T3! We were on the freeway and at our Performance Center in no time. It’s great to be back in my second hometown, but what I really miss is being able to walk outside to hang out with my friends here in Beijing and grab a cold one. Well, at least it’s not 1918 and we have WeChat!
What events would you recommend the average sports fan to watch during the games?
Watch it all if you can because it’s all amazing but I’m hoping to catch the Jamaica Bobsleigh team because they have a cool Canadian story that was captured by the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings”. looking forward to women’s monobob, which will be a new discipline to watch for Beijing 2022.
READ: OlymPicks: Q&A with Beijing and China ice hockey team member Simon Chen
Images courtesy of Richard Liu