Australian mogul skier Brodie Summers predicts it will be tough but not impossible for unvaccinated athletes to be at their best after completing 21 days quarantine before next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.
With 100 days to go until the opening ceremony on February 4, the IOC this week released the latest “playbook” for the Games.
It reaffirmed that unvaccinated athletes and officials must complete a mandatory three-week quarantine in isolation upon arrival in China.
The policies are stricter than those used at the Tokyo Olympics, where athletes were required to be tested multiple times as they travelled to Japan but were then only required to quarantine for three days.
Like the Tokyo team all of Australia’s winter athletes are fully vaccinated.
Summers, who is ranked No.5 in the world, has completed hotel quarantine upon returning home from international competition and said it was tough on fitness levels.
“If you were in that situation it could be quite challenging,” the 28-year-old said on Wednesday.
“I know that when you spend two or three weeks in a hotel room, you can de-train during that time so I think for those athletes who are in that situation, it could be somewhat challenging.”
He said unvaccinated athletes could look to the example set by international tennis players at this year’s Australian Open, who were able to perform after hard quarantine.
“I’m sure they will work with their trainers and teams to make sure they keep themselves in shape.
“It’s been shown that it’s possible to do that at the Australian Open.”
The IOC is yet to release any official figures of what the percentage of vaccinated athletes will be in China, while claiming in Tokyo the number was believed to be around 80 per cent.
Summers recovered from an ACL to travel to the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang but the injury flared during a final training run and he was unable to compete in his second Games.
“It’s not my most positive memory in a lot of ways … but I’ve developed a lot of resilience through that adversity and I’ve learnt how to handle challenges and pressure,” he said.
“Through the last four years I’ve learnt how to handle my body better and I’ve managed to get myself back to fighting form and back on the podium again.”
He and the freestyle skiing contingent, including Pyeongchang silver medallist Matt Graham and world champion aerialist Laura Peel, will leave Australia next Monday.
Competing on the World Cup circuit until mid-January, they won’t return until after the Games.
Australia is looking to improve on its 2018 tally of three medals – two silver and a bronze.