“I am truly happy that the Olympic Games in Tokyo have been such a success,” says Yang Yang, a two-time gold medallist in short track speed skating and Chairperson of the Beijing 2022 Athletes’ Commission. “Successful Olympic Games are exactly what the world needed this summer, and it reassures all of us that the winter sport athletes can continue their journey to soon compete at the Games in Beijing. It is thrilling to know the next Games are right around the corner.”
The success of the Tokyo Games has shown the world that it is possible to host Olympic Games in the current pandemic. With the right countermeasures in place and the cooperation of all stakeholders, the athletes of the world can unite and compete safely in sport.
“We have learned a lot from the Games in Tokyo, and we are committed to ensuring safe and secure Games in Beijing,” added Yang. “We are ready to welcome the world’s best athletes to China and reignite the excitement of the Olympic Games for global audiences.”
In China, the focus has already turned to winter sport across the country. As the countdown to the Olympic Winter Games begins, Beijing is on track to host the event, which will begin with the Opening Ceremony on 4 February.
All competition venues are complete and have gone through the pre-homologation process, conducted by the relevant International Federations. A series of 10 test events will be held from October to December to further test the venues and help organisers gain experience in each of the different sports. Many of the non-competition venues, such as the Main Operations Centre (MOC) and the Olympic Transport Command Centre (OTC), have already been completed and are in operation, while the Main Media Centre (MMC) and the Zhangjiakou Mountain Broadcasting Centre (ZBC) were officially handed over to Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) earlier this year.
Beijing 2022 will also host some of the ice events (figure skating, short track speed skating, ice hockey and curling) in venues that were used during the Olympic Games Beijing 2008. Fans will be excited to see the National Stadium, also known as the “Bird’s Nest” in 2008, used for the ceremonies.
With record numbers of Chinese people engaging in winter sport during the past winter season, China is well on its way to creating a legacy of getting 300 million people engaged in winter sport. In the 2018-2019 season, 224 million people engaged in winter sport across the country, according to the China Tourism Academy. China now has a total of 654 standard ice rinks across the country, an increase of 317 per cent since 2015. There are now 803 indoor and outdoor ski resorts in the country, an increase of 41 per cent since 2015.
“China will be a new winter sports destination,” says Yang. “As an athlete, it gives me enormous pleasure to see people of all ages participating in sport and making sport their passion. This will be one of the greatest legacies of Beijing 2022 and continues the great legacy built from Beijing 2008.”