Here we are in 2022. We were all hoping for many things to change, and it seems we are all still stuck with the same issues we had last year. The pandemic is still affecting our daily lives, travelling is still challenging, and every nation is going through patterns of openings and lockdowns. While science continues to progress and provides even strong evidence that the vaccines are working (for a list of all trials and approved vaccines, you can go here), sport keeps moving. Yesterday Beijing had the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, and competitions have already started. I have to say that it was a bit surreal for me to look at the birds’ nest as the opening venue, since the last time I was in the stadium it was for the Beijing 2008 summer Olympics.
China has managed to be one of the few countries in the World able to organise both ‘versions’ of the Olympic Games: Summer and Winter and I am sure we will see again incredible performances and amazing stories. However, organising an Olympic Games edition during a pandemic is not easy, and sadly I have seen already a number of athletes, coaches and support staff unable to reach China due to a positive COVID test. The usual question before each Olympic edition is: who is going to win the most medals?
Gracenote is predicting another domination of Norway, and a close battle between Canada and USA for the 4th place with Germany and Russia predicted to occupy the 2nd and 3rd place in the medal table. I think this will be a highly unpredictable edition of the Winter Olympics since nobody really knows what is going to happen with COVID despite all restrictions in place. 308 cases have been reported so far in the Olympic bubble, and cases are likely to rise. I will write more about the results in the next few days.
Work-wise, it has been a pretty busy few months following the FIFA Arab cup, we are getting ready to support the World Cup in November this year. So, the next few months will be for sure pretty hard. Unfortunately the wonderful 7th AFC medical conference had to be postponed to 2023 due to che challenges of the Omicron variant. However, we are confident that next year we can resume this great event and welcome the sports medicine community back in Qatar with a fantastic conference.
Research activities, projects and dissemination of scientific findings are progressing well despite all the challenges. Aspetar has published 139 scientific papers this year thanks also to the extensive collaboration network with colleagues around the World. This was recently reported in various media outlets in the region as well as on Al Kass TV and it is great to be part of such an exciting community in Aspire Zone Foundation. If you have not seen any of our events yet, you can access them recorded on our You Tube Channel here. Keep watching this space for more research news as we have many papers under review at the moment on many topics and a special issue of the Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal.
There is unfortunately something very sad to report. Last month a dear colleague and friend passed away. Prof. Kevin Tipton is not with us anymore. Other colleagues have written fantastic tributes to Kevin, so I will avoid doing it here. However, I would like to say that Kevin was not only an incredible scientist but also a very humble and generous human being. He wrote a fantastic chapter for the strength and conditioning book I edited with Rob Newton and Ken Nosaka and he leaves an outstanding legacy. We will all miss you Tipper, thanks for the memories and your outstanding research.