Covid-19 forces the cancellation of the 2022 CISM Military World Winter Games

The annual military sporting event was cancelled after local organizers deemed the challenge posed by the global health situation too great. The sporting event is the second winter multi-sports games to be cancelled in the lead up to the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Opening ceremony – Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 9, 2018 -  Eric Frenzel of Germany carries the national flag during the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Opening ceremony – Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 9, 2018 - Eric Frenzel of Germany carries the national flag during the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Organizers of the 4th CISM Military World Winter Games announced the cancellation of the sporting event on Thursday over complications arising from the global health situation due to Covid-19.

The event had already been postponed once, with the dates being moved to March 22 through March 27, 2022. Those dates would have seen the 2022 Military World Winter Games take place a month after the 2022 Winter Olympics.

However, as the global health situation grew worse after the emergence of the omicron variant, organizers felt they had no choice but to cancel the annual military sporting event.

A statement released by the organizers said, “It was with full optimism that we looked forward to the COVID-19 pandemic-related postponement of the 4th CISM Military World Winter Games 2021 by one year. Preparations for this went according to plan and all participants were looking forward to holding this special military winter sports event.”

“But unfortunately, the pandemic has been developing very dynamically again and is very worrying with the appearance of the newly discovered virus variant Omikron. The continuing increase in the number of infections is forcing Germany and many other nations to implement renewed drastic measures to protect the population. In some cases, the incidence of infection is extremely dramatic and regional health systems are reaching their limits.”

“Germany as the host nation and the Bundeswehr as the organiser are responsible for the full protection and health of all participants and visitors of the MWWG.”

“At an emergency meeting of the WINOC organising committee, after a comprehensive assessment of the current situation and including a professional perspective risk analysis, we came to the conclusion that it would be irresponsible towards all participants and contributors to hold the 4th CISM Military World Winter Games 2022 in its planned form.”

Biathlon - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's 20 km Individual Final - Alpensia Biathlon Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 15, 2018 - Arnd  Peiffer of Germany shoots. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Biathlon - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's 20 km Individual Final - Alpensia Biathlon Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 15, 2018 - Arnd  Peiffer of Germany shoots. REUTERS/Toby Melville

“Therefore, as difficult as it is for us, we have no choice but to recommend to our ministerial leadership that this international military winter sports event be cancelled. An official ministerial decision on this is expected in the next few days.”

The region of Bavaria would have hosted the event, with the towns of Berchtesgaden and Ruhpolding acting as host cities. It would have been the 4th edition of the winter military sports event.

Aosta Valley in Italy hosted the inaugural edition of the Military World Winter Games in 2010, before Annecy hosted the world’s best winter military athletes in 2013. The most recent edition of the military sporting event was held in Sochi in 2017.

Despite being a military sports event, the Military World Winter Games have attracted world cup athletes from skiing, biathlon, and short track speed skating during its first three editions.

It’s unclear if any olympians would have traveled to Bavaria following the 2022 Winter Olympics, but previous results from the military sporting event suggest that remained a possibility.

The 2022 CISM Military World Winter Games are the second winter multi-sports games to be cancelled this winter, after the cancellation of the 2021 Winter University Games was announced weeks before the event was to open.

The international multi-sports games schedule continues to shrink as the 2022 Winter Olympic Games approach. The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics remain scheduled for February 2022, with the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics remaining scheduled for March 2022.

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