Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), speaks during an interview in Beijing on Feb. 21, 2019. (Xinhua/Xu Zijian)

Olympic Broadcasting Services chief has hailed Beijing 2022 as "extremely safe" and "greenest" Games in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

BEIJING, Feb. 11 (ChinaEuropeDialogue,CED) -- Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), told Xinhua in an exclusive interview here on Friday that safety and sustainability impressed him the most as the Beijing Olympic Winter Games approaches its halfway mark.

"The Beijing Winter Olympics is always going to be historical as the first Winter Games in the times of pandemic, which garnered huge anticipation from the athletes around the world," he said."I know that there were many concerns, as they were also for the Games of Tokyo, whether it can happen and whether they can be safe. I think we can say with certainty now that the Games are being organized in an extremely safe way."Torch bearer Yiannis Exarchos runs with the torch during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Torch Relay at the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing on Feb. 4, 2022. (Xinhua/Li He)

According to Brian McCloskey, Chief Medical Expert of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games, the global spread of the Omicron variant is continuing and the closed-loop management adopted by Beijing 2022 makes it safer for athletes to compete."

The situation inside the closed-loop is safe and there is no sign of virus transmission, which can be said to have met our expectations," McCloskey told an IOC daily briefing on Tuesday.

Between January 23 to February 7, the Olympic-related positive cases for COVID-19 were 393, 62.85 percent of which were from arrival tests, said Huang Chun, deputy director-general of the Office of Pandemic Prevention and Control of BOCOG."

The cases of COVID we have had here are really very few, and almost all of them are on arrival. There is practically zero transmission within the Games, so the whole rules and all the guidelines of the Playbooks have worked perfectly," echoed Exarchos."This is an extremely safe Games," he emphasized.

"I have been watching athletes going to the microphones and without being asked, the first thing they say, regardless of what they've done, is 'it's incredible that I'm here and so happy to be here. It's so fun to be here.'"With all the athletes, I think this is the important thing," he added.Photo taken on Jan. 10, 2022 shows the epidemic prevention equipment at the Main Media Center for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (Xinhua/Xu Zijian)

Exarchos also praised Beijing 2022 as the most sustainable Games so far.

Sustainability is at the heart of what we do," he said. "Beijing is the greenest Winter Olympics ever, specifically in our area, in broadcasting."

He described how the International Broadcast Center has managed to reduce the footprint by 20 percent compared to that of PyeongChang 2018, that in turn has resulted in consolidation of services with the main press center, huge savings and operations in power and so on.

"Additionally, one very important technological innovation that we introduce...is the intense use of cloud technologies," he said. 

"Half of the content is being delivered to broadcasters around the world through the cloud.

"The total number of the OBS here in Beijing are more or less the same as they were at PyeongChang 2018, but the output is significantly higher, precisely due to the use of new technologies, Exarchos concluded.  ■

By Chinaeuropenet

Xuefei Chen Axelsson is an independent media person. She has been a journalist for 30 years. She studied English, International politics, and sustainable development. She has been to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and America, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and all the nordic countries including Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Britain. She is good at talking with all kinds of people and exchange ideas and serves as a bridge between China and the world.

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