torsdag 10. februar 2022

That’s it, that’s all, the Peng Shuai saga is over. Right?

As he was leaving the freestyle skiing Big Air competition on Tuesday, IOC president Thomas Bach did something unusual. After foreign-grown hero Eileen Gu’s gold medal, the stands were tumultuous, even by non-COVID standards. That Bach had been there at all signalled Gu’s top-dog status. Mission accomplished.

It would have been easy to slip away in the hubbub. But Bach decided to stop and have a chat with the media as he passed. Bach prefers speaking like a head of state – in a tightly organized, official capacity or not at all. It’s not often you’ll see him leaned over a fence trading war stories with the wretches in the media. Or ever. All of a sudden, Bach was chatty as all get out. He talked about Gu and his relationship with Olympic athletes, because he was one himself.

Then, unprompted, he brought up Peng Shuai. He’d been sitting with her at the event. Few, if any, had noticed her to that point.

“She was sitting there and I spotted her and we had the opportunity to talk,” Bach said. “Now she has to go to quarantine, she told me, because she will now leave the closed loop.”