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Master showman returns for 2018 Games in S. Korea

By Yang Wanli | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-05 07:41

The hospitality and charm of Chinese culture will be the core value communicated in China's eight-minute closing ceremony performance at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, said director Zhang Yimou.

Zhang, who wowed the world with his opening and closing ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, has been appointed to direct China's contribution to the pageantry next year.

"We will show the world the passion of Chinese people and offer the greatest welcome to all the guests," Zhang said.

Beijing has been named host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics, beating Kazakhstan's Almaty in a two-horse race and becoming the first city to host both the summer and winter events.

At the closing ceremony in 2018, China will take possession of the Olympic flag, as Beijing and neighboring Zhangjiakou in Hebei province will co-host the 2022 Games. The host city generally presents a preview of the next Games to be held four years later.

Apart from completing the flag-taking ceremony, Zhang said the performance will convey two messages: "Welcome to Zhangjiakou" and "See you in 2022 in Beijing".

"We will stick to Chinese culture, with a combination of different cultural elements," Zhang said. "Culture is always the toughest part."

A netizen named Yansuochonglou complimented the video interview with Zhang, saying: "Zhang impressed the world at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We are looking forward to the amazement he will bring to Pyeongchang."

Sha Xiaolan, the stage design team leader, said the 2022 Winter Olympics will provide a good opportunity for foreigners to experience Chinese Lunar New Year and people's passion for family gatherings.

"To show the world what they've never seen or heard before will be our top mission during the eight-minute performance," Sha said.

Directed by Zhang, a TV reality show featuring winter sports in China - The King of Kanone - premiered earlier this year, and is expected to boost the popularity of such sports in the country.

In 2015, the Beijing municipal government issued a plan to accelerate the development of winter sports from 2016 to 2022 - the first in China to be made by a local government.

Under the plan, Beijing will build 16 public indoor and 50 outdoor skating rinks, and 30 small ski areas by 2022. It will also improve 22 existing ski resorts.

Beijing has also set a city goal of 40 billion yuan ($5.8 billion) in revenue for the winter sports industry by 2022.

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