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Russia-Ukraine, Omicron, N.F.L.: Your Weekend Briefing

  • January 23, 2022

4. When China hosted the Olympics in 2008, it sought to mollify critics. Now, President Xi Jinping is defying them, delivering the Games on his own terms.

China has plowed through the obstacles that once made Beijing’s bid for the Winter Games seem a long shot — limited experience with winter sports, little snowfall and dense pollution — and faced down new ones, including an unending pandemic and mounting international concern over its authoritarian behavior.

But unlike in 2008, “they don’t need this to legitimize their rule,” one historian said. “And they don’t need to please the whole world to make the event a big success.”

With the Games set to open in about two weeks, thousands of Olympians worldwide are integrating a routine into their daily regimens: Sidestepping Covid-19, by whatever means necessary.

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