Prospective Olympians are seeing red flags.
With the latest development being that a positive COVID-19 result at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing for athletes or other participants could result in three-to-five weeks of quarantine, NHL players seem to be more and more wary of the risks, and now softening their stances on how badly they want to attend.
“That’s a long time,” Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said Monday of the determined quarantine period. “It’s a really long time.”
Tavares, a father of two, didn’t outright say it, but admitted that the threat of three-to-five weeks spent in quarantine, on top of the several weeks required for the tournament, has impacted his desire to represent his country at the event.
With obligations for family and the Maple Leafs, Tavares said that “it’s extremely challenging to wrap your head around” the conditions laid out by Chinese officials and decision makers.
Tavares also noted that the strict stipulations, and the threat of not being able to leave on time, would impact the performances of the athletes involved.
“We want to go to the Olympic Games feeling good,” Tavares said. “Even though we know it’s going to be a different experience, you want to be feeling good about playing in the Olympic Games — not having something hanging over your head.”
It seems answers, or more likely amendments or exceptions, to the rules for NHL players are required in order for the chosen players to feel comfortable attending.
Already named to Team Canada, Alex Pietrangelo of the Vegas Golden Knights echoed Tavares’s sentiment Monday, saying that he won’t make a decision until clarity is given on several key matters.
He acknowledged that those conversations are beyond the players’ control.
“It’s between governments now and the (International Olympic Committee) and all that,” Pietrangelo said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We just get information as it comes. We’ll make a decision as a group once we have all the information and we’re just kind of waiting for that information.”
A father of four, Pietrangelo also raised the question of whether spending upwards of a month in quarantine was worth the opportunity to win another gold medal.
“That’s a long time being away from my family,” he said. “I’m not going to make a decision until we get all the answers, because those are kind of hard to come by right now. So, we’re all kind of sitting and waiting.”
In accordance to Chinese law, two negative COVID-19 tests administered more than 24 hours apart would free an individual from mandated quarantine.
NHL players have until Jan. 10 to make a decision on whether or not to attend the Games.
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