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Global Rescue Protection Travels with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team to the 2022 Winter Olympics


February 7, 2022
Categories: Safety, Health, Partners, COVID-19

Providing emergency medical and security protection for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team at the Winter Olympics is an ongoing, and ever-changing, operation.  

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China will be unlike any other because of COVID-19. While the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team set out for the celebrated international competition, Global Rescue is poised to provide emergency support in the event of illness or injury among any of the team members. 

“As we have for the past five Winter Games, we have emergency action plans in place for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team,” said Dan Richards, Global Rescue CEO. 

COVID-19 Is Top of Mind

Global Rescue’s role during the Olympics in China is focused largely on medical emergencies and evacuation, especially for COVID-19. This is in stark contrast to the safety and security concerns during the 2016 Winter Olympics in Sochi when threats from terrorism were looming. But both concerns require similar action.  

“A threat is a threat, so there really is no difference in the need to leave a situation at a moment’s notice, whether it is an accident, medical emergency or pandemic. Getting out quickly and efficiently is the key,” said Tom Horrocks, U.S. Ski & Snowboard spokesman.  

Chinese officials have implemented a closed-loop policy to protect against the spread of the disease.  

“Global Rescue medical and security experts will not be allowed on site, but members of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team will have access to Global Rescue’s on-staff medical experts for real-time consultations with U.S.-based medical professionals who will help sort out any injuries or illnesses, including COVID-19,” Richards said.  

What Happens in an Emergency

In the event of a major injury or illness — like a head injury or serious COVID-19 case— U.S. Ski & Snowboard members will be able to supplement on-site diagnoses and treatment with Global Rescue on-staff medical experts.   

"With hotline access to medical advisory and a host of other services, the Global Rescue safety net provides an additional layer of protection beyond the closed-loop Chinese officials have installed. Global Rescue medical experts can assess the team member's circumstance, provide additional medical guidance and arrange for their medical evacuation back to their home hospital of choice in the United States, if necessary," Richards said.  

Official Chinese resources will handle the ground and air transports for local medical evacuations within China. "Any emergency medical situation that requires outside, non-Chinese support will be handled on a case-by-case basis by international government and medical officials. It's all quite unprecedented," Richards said.  

Global Rescue has helped protect the health and safety of U.S. Ski & Snowboard members since 2006.  

“Global Rescue provides valuable travel protection, security and medical resource services for U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and staff as they travel abroad to compete on the world stage,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, president and CEO, U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

Global Rescue Membership: Not Just for Medical Evacuations

Travel protection membership is not only for dramatic airborne medical evacuations or rescues, many of our members take advantage of our in-house medical advisory services.  

[Related Reading:
The Ultimate World Travel Safety Kit]

"We have a lot of calls about altitude and acute mountain sickness, ski injuries, sinusitis and sinus infections, and traveler's diarrhea,” said Jeff Weinstein, medical operations supervisor at Global Rescue. Members with medical questions are immediately connected to the Global Rescue Medical Operations team of critical care paramedics, nurses, and physicians. The on-site team is supported by the Elite Medical Group, the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations, and Partners HealthCare.

Global Rescue’s Intelligence Team monitors travel risk and health safety information around the clock following hundreds of news outlets, social media feeds, government alerts, newsletters, global organizations, podcasts, broadcasts and blogs. This risk information includes COVID-19 hotspots, border closings and new testing requirements.  

“Our intelligence group analyzes and publishes destination reports for 219 countries, and Global Rescue members can access this information online or with a phone call,” said Harding Busch, manager of security operations for Global Rescue. “It takes a highly trained team to keep up with what is happening in the world today and the constant ebb and flow of travel alerts require continuous monitoring. Travelers should enroll to receive travel alerts so they can enjoy their time abroad.”  

Unlike other companies, the medical, security and intelligence expertise is all in-house at Global Rescue.


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