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Medical care at the Olympics 2022 Excellent care

Issue 03/2021

The Winter Olympics will take place in Beijing from February 4 to 20, 2022. Prof. Dr. med. Bernd Wolfarth explains the required medical preparations and how the German Olympic team will be supported.

life: Almost right after the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the preparations for the Winter Games in Beijing have started. What are your responsibilities?

Prof. Wolfarth: Together with the Senior Physical Therapist, Stefan Schwarz, I, as the Senior Physician of the German team, have the responsibility of arranging all the medical care and managing it on location. In the run-up to the event, this includes coordinating the team of about 15 to 18 physicians, approximately 35 physical therapists and two to three sports psychologists. The team will get together for the first time at the Olympics Preparation Seminar in early November 2021. In January 2022, the official medical team will be appointed. The exact number in the medical team will ultimately depend on how many athletes will qualify for these Winter Olympics.

What will characterize the Games in Beijing?

Prof. Wolfarth: In Beijing, too, the central question will be which rules the organizers will specify on-site due to the pandemic. The coordination process between the IOC and the regional organizers should be interesting, in particular in terms of what the new playbook with all the rules and measures for the Olympic athletes will look like. It’s currently not possible to tell when the final decisions will be made about that. For the Olympic Games in Tokyo, for example, the final playbook wasn’t published until six weeks before the Games started.

What will the cooperation with medical facilities on location be like?

Prof. Wolfarth: In each of the three Olympic Villages, there will be a small polyclinic for basic medical care run by the organizer. In my experience, the on-site medical facilities at Olympic Games are always really well organized. But we will also take a lot of equipment ourselves, like systems for diagnostics and treatment, such as for electrotherapy, ultrasound and thermotherapy, as well as medication.

“The fact that Bauerfeind is represented at the on-site polyclinics as the partner of the local organizing committee is hugely beneficial to us.”
Prof. Dr. med. Bernd Wolfarth

How important is the cooperation with a partner like Bauerfeind at the Olympic Games?

Prof. Wolfarth: The fact that Bauerfeind is represented at the on-site polyclinics as the partner of the local organizing committee is hugely beneficial to us. The product range and the on-site care are excellent. Additionally, Bauerfeind has German-speaking specialists in the polyclinic, such as orthotists, which will make consultation and the whole care scenario easier for our athletes.

What is the special attraction of the Olympics for you personally?

Prof. Wolfarth: The Olympic Spirit can come alive even under pandemic conditions. We experienced that during the last Games. The most fascinating aspect is the cross-discipline, multinational gathering of athletes from more than 100 countries. That’s the attraction of the Olympics for
me.

Image: picture alliance/dpa/Jochen Lübke