Team GB athletes speak out on being advised not to bring their own phones to China amid spying scandal

Great Britain's Matt Weston, Brogan Crowley, Laura Deas and Marcus Wyatt ahead of their departure to Beijing for the The 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022. Picture date: Thursday January 27, 2022.
Great Britain's Matt Weston, Brogan Crowley, Laura Deas and Marcus Wyatt ahead of their departure to Beijing for the The 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022. Picture date: Thursday January 27, 2022.

British curler Hammy McMillan told GB News in an exclusive interview he 'thinks we will all follow' guidance given by the British Olympic Association.

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A Team GB athlete has spoken out over the risk of Chinese spies monitoring their phones throughout the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Scottish curler Hammy McMillan has told GB News in an exclusive interview that the event represents unique situation.

Team GB athletes have been advised to not bring their phones, and have been offered temporary devices for the duration of their Winter Olympics adventure.

"It's an interesting one, we've been to a couple of competitions in China before but we've never been given that advice", McMillan told GB News.

"These guys are the experts, so we've just got to listen to what they've got to tell us.

A general view of Great Britain fans. 24 - these will be the 24th Winter Olympics - with the event having first taken place in 1924 in Chamonix, France.
A general view of Great Britain fans. 24 - these will be the 24th Winter Olympics - with the event having first taken place in 1924 in Chamonix, France.

"We were given information by Team GB that recommended not taking our own phones".

Hammy McMillan told GB News that he expects fellow Team GB athletes to follow the advice given.

"That's the guidance that I think we will all follow.

"It's completely up to you if you want to take your own mobile device, they're not stopping any athlete doing that".

The British Olympic Association (BOA) fear authorities in China could install spyware on athletes' devices to extract private information or track future activity.

A BOA spokesman said: “We’ve given athletes and staff practical advice so that they can make their own choice as to whether they take their personal devices to the Games, or not.

"Where they do not want to take their own equipment, we have provisioned temporary devices for them to use" they told The Guardian.

Other Olympic authorities are expected to have followed suit, such as the The Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation (NOC*NSF), who recently announced that they have taken similar steps.

Great Britain's Kathryn Thomson ahead of their departure to Beijing for the The 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022. Picture date: Thursday January 27, 2022.
Great Britain's Kathryn Thomson ahead of their departure to Beijing for the The 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022. Picture date: Thursday January 27, 2022.

The organisation have told athletes not to bring personal devices due to fears of China carrying out surveillance on electronic devices during the games.

A spokesman from NOC*NSF said "The importance of cybersecurity has grown over the years.

"China has completely closed off its internet, which makes it a specific case".

While athletes may choose not use their personal devices, they would still have access to their social media accounts, should they opt for a temporary phone from the BOA.

China will provide an online gateway for athletes, as websites such as Twitter and Facebook have been banned in the country.

Team GB athletes are gearing up for the games that begin on February 4th, but curlers Hammy McMillan and Grant Hardie have told GB News that they are expecting strict Covid measures in place.

Great Britain's Kathryn Thomson ahead of their departure to Beijing for the The 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022. Picture date: Thursday January 27, 2022.
Great Britain's Kathryn Thomson ahead of their departure to Beijing for the The 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022. Picture date: Thursday January 27, 2022.

"We've seen photos of the digs, but until we get there I'm not sure how far we're going to be able to go in terms of getting around the village.

"We'll be doing lateral flow tests every day and we've been submitting PCR tests to Team GB" said Hammy McMillan.

Grant Hardie added: "From the information we've been given, restrictions for even getting into China are so much stricter than the UK.

"The general guidance is, if anyone was to get Covid within 30 days of the games, you would potentially have a hard time getting into China.

"That was enough to lock ourselves away and take as many precautions as we can".