Jamaican athletes and officials speak highly of Beijing 2022
By Wu Chaolan, Wang Yuheng
People's Daily Online

Shanwayne Stephens, Ashley Watson, Rolando Reid, and Matthew Wekpe of Jamaica compete during the bobsleigh 4-man heat at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics National Sliding Centre in Yanqing District, Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 19, 2022. (Xinhua/Sun Fei)

"The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics (Beijing 2022) is a well-organized Games, with absolutely outstanding facilities, services, and management of the transportation," said Nelson Christopher Stokes, President of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, in an exclusive interview with People's Daily Online on Saturday.

"I think that Chinese nationals should be very, very proud of what they've got there," he added.

Stokes, who is also a four-time Winter Olympian, has been staying in the Winter Olympics village along with other Jamaican athletes, tasked with leading the Jamaican 4-man bobsleigh team to compete at Beijing 2022. Jamaica, a tropical island nation whose athletes often dominate the sprinting events at Summer Olympics, has sent the largest delegation in its history for Beijing 2022, with its famous 4-man bobsleigh team joining the Winter Olympics again for the first time in 24 years, in addition to the debut of Benjamin Alexander, Jamaica’s first Alpine skier to compete in the Games.

"I would like to say a big thank you to China. They are providing an opportunity for the best athletes in the world to have a stage on which they can perform well," he said.

"I have been to many Winter Olympic Games and I have not seen better facilities. I hope that we have an opportunity to come back and spend maybe a month or 6 weeks right here training on this track," Stokes said, adding that China's bobsleigh track is one of the best tracks in the world.

Jamaica's athletes also heaped on their commendations for the world-class facilities at the Beijing Winter Olympics venues. "It is amazing what they have created here," said Shanwayne Stephenson, the pilot of the 4-man bobsleigh team. "It is unlike any track we have ever ridden on before, which for us as athletes is incredible."

Stephenson mentioned that he was amazed by the advancements in the track, which is well-covered and protected by cutting-edge technology. "You can see that they have thought about every aspect of the track," said Stephenson.

When it comes to the thing that impressed them the most, they all collectively referred to the hospitality of the Chinese people, with warm and welcoming volunteers "always having a smile on their face and making every situation fun and exciting," said Stephenson.

"The willingness of the volunteers to help you to solve whatever problems you may have, to ask what you need, how they can help has made our experience here very positive," said Stokes. "We've been treated very well, treated with respect and that has been Jamaica's experience here in Beijing."

"China's organization of the work is impeccable. The ability to move people around on a large scale is second to none," said Benjamin Alexander. "To see China execute this at the highest level is incredible. Absolutely amazing."

Outside the Olympics venues, those who closely followed the Games lavished their praises for China's organizational work. "Everything worked like clockwork," said Melissa Pryce, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Jamaica in Beijing, noting that China has enforced a raft of measures with the best intention to protect both its population and the visitors attending the Olympics.

During the interview, Pryce spoke highly of the closed-loop system that China has adopted, adding that the incredible system allows people to people contact as well as the meeting of cultures and dialogue to take place within the Olympic venues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It just gave you an experience of what is possible even under pandemic conditions that things can go well, that we can do the best that we can to achieve despite the prevailing circumstances," Pryce said.

Pryce used the word "memorable" to summarize Beijing 2022, which is about to end on Sunday evening, noting that China has done excellent work in terms of safety, providing chances for excitement, and giving people a window into the Games.

"China made it memorable for everyone, whether you are watching the Games or whether you are participating in the Games," she said.