Thinley Namgay    

His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, His Majesty’s representative and the President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), is attending the XXIV Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

HRH attended the opening ceremony of the games on February 4 with the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), heads of states, athletes, and officials of the participating countries.

HRH also took part in the 139th IOC Session on February 3 at the National Convention Centre in Beijing.

Two officials from the BOC are also with the HRH.

With the theme, “Together For a Shared Future”, the 24th edition of the international winter multi-sport event is hosting 2,871 athletes from 91 countries in 15 disciplines.

The 15 sport disciplines are alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboard, and speed skating.

There are no athletes from Bhutan taking part in the games. Unlike in the past, no international fans are allowed at the Games, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The closing ceremony is on February 20.

The IOC president, Dr Thomas Bach, said during the opening ceremony: “In our fragile world, where division, conflict and mistrust are on the rise, we show the world: yes, it is possible to be fierce rivals, while at the same time living peacefully and respectfully together.”

“This is the mission of the Olympic Games: bringing us together in peaceful competition,” Dr Thomas Bach said.

During the 128th session of the IOC held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2015, Beijing was selected as the 2022 Winter Olympics host, beating Kazakhstan’s Almaty by four votes. With this, Beijing becomes the first city to host both Summer and Winter Games.

The first Winter Olympics took place at Chamonix, France, in 1924. The games were held uninterrupted from 1924 to 1936. However, the 1940 and 1944 editions were cancelled because of World War II, and the Games resumed in 1948.

Winter games are held once every four years. The 2026 winter games will take place in the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.