Swiss Olympic snowboard champion Patrizia Kummer will travel to China this week to start a mandatory three-week quarantine period for athletes who aim to compete at the Beijing Winter Games and are not vaccinated against the coronavirus. Kummer, 34, has cited personal reasons for not being vaccinated and was quoted by the SDA news agency on Tuesday as saying: “I respect the rules of the authorities and the IOC.” The snowboarder, who claimed gold in the parallel giant slalom in 2014 in Sochi, has met the national qualifying standard to compete at next month’s Games, but is not yet guaranteed a place on the Swiss team. Her comments came as officials in China said the Olympics would go ahead as planned despite the Omicron coronavirus variant spreading in the country for the first time. “Whatever difficulties and challenges we may encounter, our determination to host successful Games as planned remains firm and unwavering,” Zhao Weidong, the organising committee spokesman, said on Tuesday. The locally acquired Omicron cases detected in Beijing’s neighbour city Tianjin at the weekend should not change any of the already strict measures in place for the February 4-20 Games, organisers said. Who is Hong Kong’s Beijing Olympic speed skater Sidney Chu? “As long as there is no big outbreak in the competition zone, we have not planned any adaptations for the countermeasures,” Huang Chun, deputy director of the office for pandemic prevention, said. The number of Omicron infections in Tianjin climbed on Monday to 50 cases. Residents have been told not to leave the city without a valid reason. The estimated 100,000 commuters who work 100km away in Beijing have been asked to work from home. The Chinese capital has set up check points to control access. Health authorities expect more infections. The highly contagious variant is likely to severely test China’s strict zero-Covid strategy of mass testing, curfews, quarantine and lockdown. To prevent arrivals to the country from bringing the virus with them, all Olympic athletes and participants will stay in a sealed “bubble” without contact to the general population. The strict measures have already drawn some criticism from athletes in the run-up to the Games.