The National Stadium in the Chinese capital hosted athletics and football at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, which it will stage again in 2022. As part of its legacy, the Stadium is transformed into a theme park for two winter months, and it has attracted more than 2.1 million visitors since the inaugural event in 2009.
An area of 60,000 square metres was transformed inside and outside the Stadium for the 10th edition, with the structure decorated with ice sculptures of penguins and polar bears, and a snow castle. Slopes were built in the area outside the Stadium which could accommodate 400 skiers at a time.
There was a snowboard park, a stage for performances and quizzes with questions about Beijing 2022 for children, plus tug-of-war games, snowman-building competitions, and races with parents dragging children on tyres.
Pu Chao attended the event with his six-year-old son, Pu Junhao, who he hopes will follow in his footsteps and experience the Games first-hand.
He said: “I bring my child to the Happy Ice and Snow Season at the Bird’s Nest every year because the Stadium means something special to me. During the 2008 Olympics, I worked here as a volunteer - that’s why I feel close to the Bird’s Nest.”
“I hope that my child enjoys ice and snow, and gets physical and mental benefits from them. He will be 10 in 2022, and I hope he can join me to volunteer for the Winter Olympics.”
Guo Runsheng, the manager of the 10th Bird’s Nest Happy Ice and Snow season, also volunteered at Beijing 2008, something that has had a lasting effect on his life.
“I have a special bond with the Olympics, something deep,” he said. “I believe that our efforts in the past 10 years and the efforts we are going to make in the future will help more and more people get to know the Bird’s Nest and the Winter Olympics.”