Winter Olympic athletes have put China’s coronavirus quarantine hotels on blast over a lack of edible food and training equipment while they wait to test out of isolation.
Russian biathlon competitor Valeria Vasnetsova and Belgian Kim Meylemans were among those who called out the conditions of their isolation at the Beijing Olympics.
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“My stomach hurts, I’m very pale, and I have huge black circles around my eyes. I want all this to end. I cry every day. I’m very tired,” Vasnetsova said in an Instagram video.
Vasnetsova scrutinized the meals she was receiving at the hotels, posting on Twitter about her “breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days already” – a tray with plain pasta, orange sauce, charred meat on a bone, potatoes and no greens.
She said it was “impossible” to eat most of the food and that she was losing weight rapidly.
Vasnetsova’s COVID isolation will force her to miss the Games.
Meylemans’ tearful video earlier in the week spotlighted the conditions. She was brought back from the quarantine hotel to isolation in the Olympic Village after the video was released. Her main issue was lack of information.
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She said she felt safer after being brought to the village but still needed seven days of testing before she can be released from isolation.
“Our main goal was to get Kim to the Olympic Village in Yanqing as quickly as possible,” Belgian Olympic official Olav Spahl said Wednesday. “We are therefore very pleased that this has now been successfully achieved. We understand that the COVID measures are necessary to safeguard the safety and health of participants in the games, but we believe that the athlete should always be at the center of such an approach.”
Team Germany was seeking better conditions as well. German delegation leader Dirk Schimmelpfennig lambasted the “unreasonable” living conditions after three-time Nordic combined gold medalist Eric Frenzel tested positive. Schimmelpfennig said Germany wants larger, more hygienic rooms as well as regular food deliveries.
The pressure appeared to be paying off in some respect.
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Sergei Averyanov, a Russian biathlon team spokesman, said Vasnetsova was receiving better meals in the days after the complaints. He said she was going to get a stationary bike and a better meal that included salmon, cucumbers, sausages and yogurt.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.