German athletes reluctant to say goodbye to Beijing 2022
By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The German chef de mission drew a satisfactory picture of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Dirk Schimmelpfennig spoke of high-quality competitions perfectly set up by the Chinese organizers.

"Due to the circumstances of the pandemic, we might have to talk about a practically run Olympics. But this was the only way to go through with a challenging and gigantic event like that," the 59-year-old said.

The most important task has been perfectly mastered, the official added. "Athletes got the opportunity to compete and do what the Olympics are about, it's about sport."

Schimmelpfennig reported many positive comments of German athletes already having returned to Europe. "They all said it's a pity that the Games are already over," he said.

The German praised the close collaboration with the organizers regarding the COVID-19 countermeasures, which were put in place to ensure the safety of athletes and coaches. "They always had an open ear for our concerns and our athletes' needs," he said.

The official said many athletes regret not having had the opportunity to visit Beijing and other parts of China due to the hygiene measures.

"Some things we normally have were sadly enough missing, our families, the German house to meet after the competitions and only a lower number of spectators could attend," the official said.

German skeleton gold medal winner Hannah Neise spoke about "two sunny weeks with wonderful weather."

"The Games were magnificently organized. The volunteers are always extremely friendly and helpful," she added.

Schimmelpfennig and the head of the German Olympic Association, Thomas Weikert, spoke about a satisfying result for the German team.

Germany might not have met the number of medals achieved in 2018 when they collected 31, but the 27 medals won at Beijing 2022 speak to a well-oiled squad achieving second place behind Norway in the medal ranking.

Weikert announced Germany is going to make a new attempt to apply to host an Olympic Games.

After six failed attempts since 1992, the German Olympic boss talked about 2034 or 2036 as possible targets.