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Craig shows us why life inside the Olympic bubble is unlike anything he’s experienced

From COVID-19 testing, to futuristic beds, to robot bartenders, these Olympics look pretty different.
/ Source: TODAY

The specter of COVID-19 has turned the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics into an experience that TODAY’s Craig Melvin won’t soon forget.

Craig, who has covered three Olympics prior to this one, had to have multiple negative COVID-19 tests before flying to Beijing. He said he quickly realized how these games would be unique.

“Before I even stepped off the plane in China, it was clear this would be an Olympic experience unlike any other,” he said Monday on TODAY.

Anyone who lands in the city for the games is greeted by representatives from a welcoming committee in hazmat suits who guides visitors through multiple checkpoints and a pair of COVID tests that Craig says go deep in the nose.

Those on hand for the Olympics must take a COVID test each day or else they are not allowed to leave their hotel. There are also fences with locks and police preventing those in the bubble from simply walking down the street. Everyone is required to take official Olympic transportation, which provide a hint at what Beijing looks like.

Craig and others at the Olympics are even restricted to where they can walk within in the confines of the Olympic park, with police and barricades blocking them from the city’s residents on the other side.

“The reality is I couldn’t just walk down the street if I wanted to,” Craig said.

How's that for high-tech?
How's that for high-tech?TODAY

Despite all the precautions, there are still ways for people to kick back and relax. Competitors ride bicycles around athletes’ village. There are high-tech beds featuring a zero gravity mode that come with pillows that morph into blankets.

And if you’d like a drink to unwind, well, that’s possible, too. There’s a robot restaurant at the main media center, which features a human who takes the order before a robot bartender creates the cocktail, allowing people to have some bubbly while inside the bubble.