The exact origin of the COVID-19 virus has not been confirmed but it is believed to have first appeared at a “wet market” in the Chinese city of Wuhan, capital of hard-hit Hubei province and the epicenter of the serious outbreak. However, a Chinese government spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said that American athletes participating in the Wuhan Military World Games may have “brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” fueling a coronavirus conspiracy theory. There is, however, no evidence, scientific or otherwise, to support this theory and the Pentagon criticized Zhao’s remarks, calling them “false and absurd.” The Trump administration has also laid blame firmly at China’s feet.
USA Today fact checked the claim and rated it false because it is not supported by research and “the origin theory for the virus is supplemented by preliminary research into the disease’s genome, as well as the origins of similar diseases.” The COVID-19 whistle blower, Dr Li Wenliang, also posted in a WeChat forum in December 30, 2019 that “7 confirmed cases of SARS were reported [to hospital] from Huanan Seafood Market.” The Chinese government censured him for “making false comments on the Internet” but also shuttered the market on January 1. Dr Li Wenliang died of COVID-19 in February and Chinese authorities apologized to his family and dropped their reprimand, six weeks after his death.
In February, China banned the trade and consumption of wild animals. “There has been a growing concern among people over the consumption of wild animals and the hidden dangers it brings to public health security since the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak,” Zhang Tiewei, a legislative spokesman, told Reuters. Zhang added that the decision came at a “critical moment for the epidemic prevention and control.”
Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reported that on December 10, 2019, the first known case was identified as Wei Guixian, a seafood merchant at Hua’nan market. Forty plus days after the Wuhan Military Games ended.
This is not the first time that China has prioritized the containment of information, rather than of the virus itself. In early January Wuhan authorities insisted there was no spread of the virus and also claimed “to have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,” World Health Organization (WHO)
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
About the Military World Games
The Military World Games is run by the International Military Sports Council (IMSC), an event organized without political or sectarian motives and held in the interest of advancing peace.
The 2019 World Games took place in Wuhan, China from Friday, October 18 to Monday, October 28, 2019.
IMSC, which is known as CISM outside America (that acronym stands for Conseil International du Sport Militaire) was created in 1948 by five founding nations:
While the founding members of IMSC are based in Europe, the intent from the start was to establish an international competition that could bring nations together through sport rather than clashing on the battlefield.
How The Military World Games Got Started
The story of the Military World Games is closely tied with the evolution of IMSC. Before 1948, something called the Interallied Games were held in France in 1919. This event saw 1500 international athletes from 18 countries competing, with a second such event held again decades later in Berlin, circa 1946. In May of that same year, the Allied Forces Sports Council was organized and later disbanded in 1947.
But the idea of an international sports competition focused solely on sports and not politics or sectarian concerns was powerful enough to inspire the IMSC in 1948, started by five European nations (see above) with Argentina, Egypt, and American all becoming members by 1951. The following year, other nations including Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Lebanon would also join.
At the height of the Cold War, some Warsaw Pact member nations joined with a rival organization known as the Allied Armies Sports Committee. Decades later, in the 1990s, these two organizations would merge.
Before 1995, IMSC organized as many as twenty world championship events for individual sports per year. After 1995, the Military World Games is scheduled every four years as a multi-sport event.
The very first of the IMSC games honored the 50th anniversary of the end of World War Two and the establishment of the United Nations Charter.
Military World Games: Summer And Winter Editions
The Military World Games are held as Summer and Winter events, similar to past iterations of the Olympics. Locations for the Summer games have included:
- Wuhan, China 2019
- Mungyeong, Korea 2015
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2011
- Hyderabad, India 2007
- Catania, Italy 2003
- Zagreb, Croatia 1999
- Rome, Italy 1995
Locations for the Military World Games, Winter Edition have included:
- Berchtesgaden and Ruhpolding, Germany 2022
- Sochi, Russia 2017
- Annecy, France 2013
- Aoste, Italy 2010
Military World Games Competitions
The types of sporting events open to competitors in the Military World Games have included:
- Alpine Skiing
- Football/Soccer (Men/Women)
- Indoor Climbing
- Modern Pentathlon
- Short Track
- Ski Orienteering
- Track and Field
Military World Games: A Selected Timeline
- 1995 Military World Games: Rome, Italy. More than 90 nations competed with 17 sporting events scheduled.
- 1999 Military World Games: Zagreb, Croatia. 82 nations, 20 events, and seven thousand participants compete.
- 2003 Military World Games: Catania, Italy. 84 nations gathered there to compete in 13 different sporting events.
- 2007 Military World Games: Hyderabad, India. Featuring 101 countries competing in 14 sports.
- 2011 Military World Games: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 108 countries competing in 20 sports.
- 2015 Military World Games: Mungyeong, Korea. 105 countries, 24 sports, including five military sports.
- 2019 Military World Games: Wuhan, China. 23 sporting events scheduled for December 2019.
- 2023 Military World Games: Bogota, Colombia. TBA.
Who Is Eligible To Compete In The Military World Games
The sport-specific requirements to compete in the Military World Games will vary depending on the sport, the current level of world-class standards athletes must meet to take part, and current benchmarks for qualifying beyond the preliminary rounds.
Participation requires active military service, membership in the National Guard, or as a Reservist. In all cases the athletes must serve in an active status.
Service members interested in becoming part of a U.S. Armed Forces Team with a goal of competing at the Military World Games level must apply via their branch of military service’s Sports Office. You can find your branch of service’s sports office via the DoD Armed Forces Sports official site.
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