When the curtain comes up on Beijing 2022 on February 4, the Tokyo summer Olympic and Paralympic Games will still be fresh in the memory of athletes and spectators alike.
The COVID- induced delay to Tokyo 2020 means that just 152 days will have passed between the summer Paralympic closing ceremony and the winter Olympic opening ceremony, the closest the two Games have been in the calendar since the winter cycle schedule was altered in 1992.
Here, Michael Goodfellow, who was part of the British curling team which took silver in Sochi in 2014, how British winter athletes can use their summer counterparts’ recent success to their advantage.
“When we competed in Sochi, London 2012 was still relatively fresh in everyone’s minds, having taken place around 18 months previously. London, being the first home games for so many years, really grabbed the nation’s attention, and the buzz around everything ‘Team GB’ was heightened.
“I was lucky enough to be involved as a spectator, and was able to experience the amazing atmosphere and support that the public were showing to all of the athletes. It was probably the first time I had seen how proud the British public were of Team GB’s achievements, and how much it meant seeing fellow Brits performing so well on the world stage.
“After winning so many medals in London, just like Tokyo, the summer athletes were the pride of the nation. It wasn’t too long after London that we were announced as curling representatives for Great Britain, and officially being able to call myself a member of Team GB alongside so many incredible athletes was a huge honour.
“It made me even more determined to live up to the high standards set by my summer counterparts, and to do the British public proud.
“This time around, due to COVID19, the gap between the Games will be even shorter, and I think it’s something that Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s winter athletes can again use to benefit them as they prepare for Beijing.
“Being part of Team GB is such a special experience, so athletes heading to Beijing can try to capitalise on the momentum created in the summer by their teammates.
“The Olympics always grabs the nation’s attention, and it’s amazing to be able to watch so many different sports and athletes who aren’t normally in the public eye. As a spectator, the wait before Tokyo definitely made me more appreciative of being able to watch elite athletes performing at their best again, and I’m hoping the Beijing games will be able to gain the public’s interest in the same way.
“One thing that the two Games will have in common, unfortunately, is that there will be no British spectators, and therefore athletes will have to compete without their nearest and dearest watching on.
“Having familiar faces with you at any competition can be a source of comfort and inspiration, so not having that may be challenging. No fans in the stands will slightly change the complexion of the Olympic experience for the athletes heading to Beijing, but hopefully it won’t take anything away from the overall experience, and they should take comfort in knowing that everyone at home will be cheering them on!”